Saint-Martin is proud once again to be joining the other members of CTO in observing Caribbean Tourism Month under the theme “One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.”
This initiative that was taken by members of the organization to promote the region as “One Destination” highlights the unique attraction of our region and is an added means to advertise our tourism product by not only the beauty of the natural environment that is the Caribbean but the heritage and cultures that tie the destination together. The Caribbean as a whole and Saint-Martin in particular are more and more in competition with destinations that have larger advertising budgets, yet, we continue to draw millions of visitors because of our reputation as beautiful and safe destinations.
Within the context of this initiative Saint-Martin, like our other partners in the region, has an opportunity to focus our attention inwards so as to re-educate and encourage our population and businesses alike to appreciate just how important and fragile this fundamental motor of our economy called Tourism is.
The growth of tourism and the policies developed to shape and encourage the industry, impact all of the various sectors including our environment, infrastructure, energy production and employment. As we seek new markets and implement new protocols we also have to rethink our strategies, accommodations and policies in order to host visitors from new cultures and with new languages. Strategies in telecommunications, internet access and other technological developments must be revised and updated in order to keep up with the demands of a new generation of visitors from our niche markets who demand to be connected at all times.
Our policies on eco-tourism have to be given substance and more importantly there needs to be a real push to structure and highlight this sector as part of the marketing of our destination. As policy makers and professionals of the tourism sector, our work is also cut out for us in the training and development of the new generation of professionals that are coming out of our high schools and universities.
The Saint-Martin Office of Tourism as part of its activities this month is placing emphasis on all of these areas, especially in terms of population awareness as it pertains to our Tourism product. The Office of Tourism will participate in information sessions in our junior and high schools as well as hosting a discussion between the junior tourism ministers of Saint-Martin, Sint Maarten and Anguilla on this year’s theme.
Discussions are also taking place with associations and private sector project developers on programs that will boost our ecotourism offerings so that we can better promote this important sector. Other activities on our calendar of events will seek to introduce our population to the visitor’s point of view when it comes to the uniqueness and beauty of our destination and how important it is to preserve it. In collaboration with both public and private sector partners a series of events that includes discussions, open houses and wine tastings have also been planned. The calendar of events which has already been posted on our website includes the dates for the “Course de L’Alliance”, a boat race between the neighboring islands and the Youth Panel Discussion on this year’s theme One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean” that takes place on November 26th at the Chamber of Commerce. Among the other events is the annual art exhibition at the Tourist Office that begins on November 22nd and the Open House at the Tourist Office on November 15th. Each of the events planned will feature aspects of local music, culinary art and historical information. We look forward to a large turnout of the population.
President Saint-Martin Tourism Office