PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — St. Maarten is clearly on the rebound as the arrival numbers are on the rise and practically going through the roof and outperforming 18 countries in the Caribbean, including Curacao, according to data presented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization based on the national authorities surveyed and IMF staff calculations.
The outgoing Minister of TEATT, Ludmilla De Weever, looks back with great satisfaction at her short but productive period in office. The extraordinary performance is based on the actual 2021 figures from the SXM Airport. The traffic numbers started slow, but the last three months have shown significant recovery beyond expectations. Despite new restrictions and additional travel requirements imposed due to the manifestation of new variants of the coronavirus. The 2021 average in arrival numbers is just above the expected 50% average of 2019, with 1.5M in passenger movements.
Compared to almost all other tourism-oriented islands in the Caribbean, St. Maarten experienced the fastest-growing stayover tourism recovery rate since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. Moreover, as the graph prepared by IMF staff demonstrates, St. Maarten vastly outperformed nearly every island in the region by a wide margin, almost reaching pre-pandemic levels of arrivals by May 2021.
The recovery policies set in place by Ludmilla De Weever as Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunication, and Traffic, are directly responsible for the growth numbers achieved during her term in office.
At the beginning of her term, De Weever prioritized the restoration in particular of US arrivals to ensure the survival of the country’s hotel industry. Part of this strategy included reopening the airport as early and safely as possible to US carriers and establishing entry protocols that facilitated ease of entry while maintaining the safety of the local community. In addition, the careful and constant balance of the economy and public health kept St. Maarten a relatively attractive place to visit compared to many other destinations in the region.
The data collected so far is a clear demonstration of the success of De Weever’s policies and set St. Maarten back on a path to economic recovery and growth. The former Minister of TEATT and now Member of Parliament wishes to thank all stakeholders involved and remind them that she remains connected and will continue to dialogue with the relevant executives in the industry.