Promoting Saba tourism a joint effort, says Zagers

Considering the ad­verse impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Saba’s tourism, it is of utmost importance that the local government and the private sector unite in their efforts to promote the island as be­ing a vacation destination that is ready and open for business.

Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers stated this in his recent outlook for 2018. He confirmed that the Ex­ecutive Council was able to negotiate a relief package with the relevant Dutch Ministries that will help the hospitality industry to get through the difficult period and the anticipated slower tourism season.

Commissioner Bruce Zagers

“By no means will this solve all the problems or fully restore the economy but it will bring some re­lief,” stated Zagers, who noted that Saba’s pres­ence at the Holiday Fair Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht, the Dive Show in Amster­dam and the Boot Show in Germany were helpful in promoting the island as a Caribbean tourism destina­tion.

The Commissioner an­nounced that the govern­ment was discussing a con­tract with a United States based digital media expert who will assist the Saba Tourism Office and the tour­ism stakeholders to better utilise opportunities in digi­tal media. “This expert will also guide the process of updating the tourism web-site.”

Also, negotiations are on­going with US based PR firm D&DPR to renew the contract. He explained that D&DPR was the promo­tional firm that has been responsible for attracting world renowned travel writ­ers which have resulted in Saba being featured on the front page of, for example, US Today, New York Times and Smithsonian.

In January and again in February 2018, Saba will host travel writers from Passion Passport, which has a large following on social media and the popu­lar travel website Thrillest. “We are also exploring the possibility of officially join­ing with Green Destina­tions, which would be an­other avenue to promote Saba internationally. Green Destinations is a non-profit organisation that helps des­tinations to become more sustainable and then pro­motes these efforts with the help of partner organisa­tions.”

The efforts to promote tourism and other tour­ism related plans will be represented in a Tourism Impulse Programme. “The focus will be on the current situation and will be used as a guide to help restore and build on our product. This plan, which is still in draft form, will be shared with those in the hospitality sec­tor so that all input can be included.”

Zagers emphasized that restoring the tourism sec­tor after the hurricanes, promoting the island as a destination that is open for business and ultimately working towards a thriving economy has to be a joint effort of the local govern­ment and the private sec­tor.

The Commissioner said that even though the island was battered by two very powerful hurricanes within two weeks, there was fortu­nately no loss of lives and property damage were not as bad as they could have been. “The hurricanes were reminders that we cannot let our guard down and be­come complacent.”

A large number of projects have been approved and will be executed this year which will make Saba stronger, more sustainable and more resilient. These projects, largely funded by the Dutch Government and reported on in last Satur­day’s edition of The Daily Herald, include building re­pairs, the harbour, airport, waste management, water management and other in­frastructural projects.

The Daily Herald.

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