St. Martin’s Tourist Office and St. Maarten’s Tourist Bureau participated at the CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace last week, from January 21st – 23rd at Baha Mar in The Bahamas. CHTA’s Marketplace is the Caribbean’s largest tourism marketing event with over 1,000 delegates, tour operators, and suppliers, along with representatives from 28 Caribbean countries in attendance. With a total of 11,000 prescheduled appointments, the conference provides multiple networking opportunities that reinforce existing relationships and foster new ones.
St. Martin and St. Maarten took the opportunity of sponsoring the opening luncheon for this major forum for a second year in a row. Honorable Valérie Damaseau, 1st Vice President of French St. Martin Territorial Council and President of St. Martin’s Tourist Office, delivered the keynote address, sharing with the audience that the island is once again open for business and expecting a very promising winter season. Her remarks included a message from the Honorable Rene F. Violenus, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication for Sint Maarten, who sent his apologies for being unable to attend.
The luncheon was extensively branded, with destination signage and flags of both countries each table, and a promotional video played on a continuous loop. A group of models representing the destination walked around the room collecting business cards directly from the delegates.
In addition to the luncheon, there was also a joint press conference presented by Ms. May-Ling Chun, Director of the St. Maarten’s Tourism Bureau and Aïda Weinum, Director of St. Martin’s Tourist Office. The media in attendance were given updates on the reconstruction developments for the Princess Julianna International Airport as well as updates on cruises, restaurants and hotel openings such as the much anticipated Secrets Resorts & Spa opening in March. A full calendar of events as well as top attractions were also highlighted in the presentation, and the media was given a USB with all the pertinent information.
“The team at the St. Martin Tourist Office is optimistic about the expansion of our tourism product for the year of 2020. Thanks to the support of our stakeholders, trusted travel partners and media Saint Martin remains a top Caribbean destination for exciting visitors. Participating in these meetings not only allows us to network but also to promote new brands that are opening on island such as Secret Resorts & Spa, Planet Hollywood & The Morgan” said Aïda Weinum, Director of St. Martin’s Tourist Office.
During the course of the two-day trade show, the delegation shared a double booth on the floor of the CHTA Marketplace and met with buyers worldwide including tour operators and villa wholesalers such as Pleasant Holidays, Classic Vacations and Apple Leisure Group, and online travel agencies Booking.com and Expedia. The team took advantage of the opportunity to promote SMART, Sint Maarten and Saint-Martin’s regional trade show taking place from May 19th- 21st. The response from both industry partners and the media was exceptionally positive.