Minister Ted Richardson’s Address for The World Tourism Day

Dearest Citizens,

Growing up in Sint Maarten in the eighties, I have experienced the start of the development of Tourism. In fact, many people like me were embracing the fact that others from abroad come and share with us the beauty of our beaches and surrounding waters.  

This phenomenon was not specific to Sint Maarten; it was indeed followed by many other Caribbean islands. Today, Tourism has developed in such a way that it is now the main pillar of many Economies and helps support and sustain vital needs such as: Education, Infrastructure, Environment preservation and most importantly the Job Creation.

In our daily life, Tourism has blended in such a way that there is not a single day that passes where our citizens, from the school children to the elderly, do not experience a friendly interaction with our visitors. Each family has at least one member who is directly or indirectly involved in Tourism.

Tourism has not only facilitated multiple economic and infrastructural developments, it has also broadened our knowledge of others and has enriched our way of thinking with: Understanding, Compassion and Tolerance.

While Sint Maarten is no different from its neighboring islands, and must, at all times, cherish and preserve our Caribbean Heritage and Culture, embracing the true value of a "Cosmopolitan" brought by Tourism has helped us to better understand the rest of the world, especially, in this era of Globalization.


Nowadays Tourism is no longer a choice for many countries in the World; it is rather a necessity, more so for small economies such as the Caribbean countries. Many of us can no longer say that we have alternatives like Agriculture, Fishery or Craft, as none of those resources can sustain our way of life in the same way they did in the seventies and eighties.

This economic reality is certainly not a reason for us to be enslaved by Tourism, but it must give us the wisdom and the vigilance to continuously seek new avenues and opportunities. Information-Technology, Agro-processing and Business Development Services are some of the areas that we must further explore, while protecting Tourism.

From the Friendly Island Sint Maarten, as Minister of Tourism I would like to wish all: Happy World Tourism Day. May God give us all the Wisdom and the Tenacity to continue welcoming our visitors with open arms and minds, and always with mutual Respect and mutual Interest.

Today is a special day for Tourism, but the reality is: every day is and must be a "World Tourism Day".