Minister Pantophlet meets with SMTA and discusses several issues

Minister of Tourism, Economy, Transport and Telecommunications Hon. Romeo Pantophlet met with representatives of the Board of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) earlier this week. The meeting was both very positive and also productive according to statements by both Minister Pantophlet and SMTA Chairwoman, Mayra Provence.

Three items were highly discussed along with other issues affecting tourism, namely tourism signage; taxes and laws impacting the sector; and upgrading of properties.


First on the agenda was recognition of the Minister’s areas of responsibility that fall under the Governing Program. The SMTA would like to provide active support for Minister Pantophlet’s initiative to provide tourism signage via contribution from the $-a-day program. Both the Minister and the SMTA see positive benefits to a partnering relationship between the public and private sectors on this project.

Taxes and laws affecting the timeshare industry were the next topic covered during the meeting. The SMTA claims that as of 2001 the Executive Council and successive governments had agreed to change the weekly timeshare user’s tax to a nightly one. Minister Pantophlet has agreed to look into this.

Recent laws proposed by Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Leroy de Weever in Parliament to provide better timeshare consumer laws and a regulatory body were discussed. Minister Pantophlet and the SMTA agree that these laws will benefit the Island and the timeshare industry, as well as the consumer.

Also discussed were; how to stimulate the upgrading of aging properties, hospitality training, response planning for tourism related problems, vacation clubs that have come and gone on the island, and the challenges posed by the huge spikes in cost of operations of resorts by GEBE rates.

Minister Pantophlet informed the SMTA that many of these issues already were being dealt with and that an ongoing dialog will be beneficial for the creation of measured solutions dealing with the timeshare sector, and the partnering between public and private sectors will result in positive developments for the sector overall.