PHILIPSBURG – Earlier this year, the SHTA presented the Minister of TEATT with various initiatives to boost the occupancy during the summer’s slow season and beyond.
The first part of the initiatives included a private public partnership that launched online marketing campaigns through the most visited travel websites Expedia and TripAdvisor. These campaigns as of mid-September resulted in an increase in bookings via Expedia of 17% and increase in occupancy tax collected of 24% for the same period, thus showing an excellent return on the investment made by government and private sector.
In addition to these 2 online campaigns, SHTA took 4 printed ads in USA Today newspaper in order to support the other efforts.
“Unfortunately, this year St. Maarten also discontinued the services of our USA marketing representative, leaving the island without a vital marketing presence in traditionally important markets for the island like the East Coast of the US,” an SHTA release said.
SHTA recognizes the importance of continuity and presence in the marketplace and decided to fund the participation of the former representative in the US to attend important trade shows in that market:
October 26 – Maine ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents)/South Portland, Maine;
November 2 – Workers in Travel (WITS) Meet Your Rep Night Troy, NY;
November 3 – Vermont Society of Travel Agents (VSTA)/Burlington, Vermont;
Tuesday, November 15 – CCRA (formerly OSSN) Haddon Township, NJ;
Wednesday, November 16 – ACT (Association of Central New Jersey Travel Agents); Educational Training – Brielle, NJ.
Although online business is very important and continues to grow in prominence, SHTA recognizes that traditional travel agencies and tour operators still drive an enormous amount of business to the island and they should not be abandoned or ignored.
The SHTA is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace.