PHILIPSBURG – St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Executive Director Anastacio Baker, would like to commend the various entities that organized several activities and events during the summer months of June, July and August that resulted in an increase in visitors/shoppers into Philipsburg.
Baker added that the focus now must be to plan and organize activities and events for the upcoming high season which should be a very good one for the country.
“The upcoming season is going to be a very good one post-Hurricane Irma. There will be a number of things that will be coming together to increase economic activity in the country.
“To start with, hotel room accommodations will increase to more than 50 per cent. On the Dutch side of the island we currently have 34 per cent of hotel rooms available, and the forecasts for the end of the year is that we will see room availability climb to over 50 per cent or more than 2,000 rooms.
“There will be an increase in airlift by various airlines to the destination in the coming months. SXM Airport expects to see an increase in long-haul flight frequency from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America for the peak Winter season of 2018/2019.
“In November part of the SXM Airport Terminal Building will be operational for stay-over and in transit travelers which will further enhance the travel experience.
“There are also exciting things happening at our port. Cruise ship homeporting is scheduled to return in December and this will generate economic activity for wholesalers, taxi drivers, restaurants & bars, hotels etc.
“Port St. Maarten have stated that they expect a strong upcoming high season similar to pre-Hurricane Irma numbers in 2017 and this demonstrates a strong cruise recovery of the country’s cruise tourism sector.
“With all these positive signs and developments, we need all hands-on deck to prepare and plan new memorable activities and events for the upcoming high season for residents and visitors, and I call on the business community and like-minded organizations to put on their thinking caps and prepare for the season,” COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker said.
Some of the successful summer activities and events that were organized during the past summer months were: The Philipsburg Promotional Board which organized the ‘Philipsburg Alive Block Party’ that took place at Pastorie Steeg (alley) between Front and Back Street which kicked off the end of May and continued through the summer months.
The alley came alive with stalls displaying locally made crafts, live music and much more. The night-time event was enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
This was then followed by Koop Avond (shopping night) in June and it took place every Thursday afternoon from 5pm to 10pm in Philipsburg for a period of six weeks where arts & crafts, parades, live music, a night of food and natural drinks, shopping, and entertainment filled the streets of the destination’s capital town. This was organized by another group of entrepreneurs.
Oualichi Festival ‘SXM Best Weekend,’ took place from July 26-29. This July weekend was designed to promote and showcase St. Maarten’s culture, heritage and music while creating a top-notch quality experience that attracts locals and tourists alike. There were many entertainment acts from around the Caribbean and it turned out to be another summer success.
PHOTO: COCI Executive Director Anastacio Baker