BRAZIL — The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, telecommunication & Transportation, Honorable Mr. Ernest Sams, was advised by the Tourist Bureau and his Tourism Adviser Bernard Hunt to attend the ABAV and FIT trade shows in Brazil and Argentina. This was done with the assistance of Inter-American Network, which has been our representative in South America for the past twenty years and has offices in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador.
The goal of the trip was to boost occupancy from South America for the destination, now and for the upcoming season.
ABAV represents a formidable distribution of networks formed by travel agents, who are spread all over the domestic territory. It has more than three thousand associated companies, which are in charge of eighty percent of the national market and has the main objective of congregating and representing the interests of the companies.
The ABAV Expo is held in Brazil every year during the month of September for a period of three days
The FIT International Tourism Fair of Latin America is held annually at the La Rural in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the most important sample of travel market in South America. Federation partners are especially invited to participate as exhibitors or distributors and receive preferential treatment to facilitate their work during the days of the event. This fair offers different tools to develop your business through international business meetings rounded with a pre scheduled agenda, with two days dedicated to the consumers. Attendance to this event was estimated at forty thousand people.
The Minister was able to sit with key players in the industry and conducted several interviews with radio stations, television stations and magazines. This was a great way of getting free publicity for St. Maarten
According to the Minister “our joint promotion with French St Maarten and Anguilla demonstrated our close relationship with our sister islands and the fostering of a great relationships, which allow us to get more for our buck”. He continued that this was just the beginning and that further dialogue was scheduled.
The Minister is of the opinion that St Maarten has a great product, which is very much in demand. However, we are lagging behind our competitors in terms of visibility due to the lack of funds.
The Minister and his team had the opportunity to sit with the South American regional manager of Copa Airlines Mr. Gustavo Esusy and hear his vision for our destination but more important, his love for the island. According to him, we are venturing into a new market – Colombia that needs our support.
On the final leg of his trip, a courtesy visit was made to our PR firm in the United States – Tambourine. There he was updated on specific matters pertaining to St. Maarten and how the island is positioned statistically amongst our competitors. He was also enlightened on all the possibilities of moving forward in the digital age with a new online marketing strategy.
The Minister would like to thank his team Mr. William Bell and especially Mr. Bernard Hunt, who according to him, is “a beacon for St. Maarten in the tourism industry”. He was amazed as to the number of people he met in South America that knew Mr. Hunt and said that they felt comfortable working with the island because of him
In concluding, the Minister believes St. Maarten should continue the relationship with Anguilla and French St Maarten in terms of joint marketing. He thinks that we need to support our partners financially in the various markets and expressed that his vision is to see the establishment of the St Maarten Tourism Authority Board.
Photo Info – Left to Right Minister of TEATT – Hon. Ernest Sams, South American Regional Manager of Copa Airlines – Mr. Gustavo Esusy and Mr. Bernard Hunt – Tourism Adviser to Minister of TEATT