Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Caretaker Minister Stuart Johnson recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Saba Commissioner of Tourism Bruce Zagers that aims to foster a closer working relationship in tourism development and joint promotion of St. Maarten and Saba.
The MOU was signed in Saba on Monday, October 7, following the approval given by the Council of Ministers on Friday, October 4.
The MOU states that both parties agree to “cooperate in participating together at marketing and sales promotions,” as well as “at travel shows mutually agreed upon.”
The agreement has no financial commitments by either party, according to a press release. Johnson said any joint financial agreements that may follow will have to be decided and agreed on separately.
Based on the MOU, St. Maarten and Saba will collaborate in seeking financing for specific tourism development projects from regional and international institutions.
Johnson said the MOU “signifies the commitment I have made from the start of my tenure as Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, which is the rebuilding of our economy and sustainably redeveloping our tourism product.”
“The fact is that when you travel to St. Maarten, there are opportunities to hop over to our neighbouring islands, and we are a more sellable destination when we promote these options jointly.
“Travellers today are looking for destinations that have interactive and ecofriendly activities. We are already unique … we are already two countries in one, with French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten and what better way to expand on our uniqueness than showing the benefit of visiting three or four different destinations within minutes, giving the vacationer more value for their dollar,” he said.
Like the MOU with French St. Martin, which involves a joint approach to destination marketing, the Saba/St. Maarten MOU will result in a pooling of resources to maximise the effectiveness of marketing at tradeshows and other promotions, according to a press release.
Other areas where the two islands will collaborate include data collection, strategic planning, and hospitality training.
The MOU is valid for an indefinite period with the option of revision where necessary and does not restrict individual product development and marketing efforts, said Johnson.
The Daily Herald.