Sint Maarten Tourism Authority Foundation has first official meeting and elects Chairman and Vice Chairman

After almost two decades, the Sint Maarten Tourism Authority (STA) had on Wednesday its first official meeting where the members elected the Chairman and the Vice Chairman.

Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Hon. Ted Richardson was present for the kick-off meeting.

Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was unanimously elected as Chairman of the Supervisory Council and Keith Graham from the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) was elected as Vice Chairman.

At the end of the Supervisory Council meeting, each member and those who worked tirelessly on making the STA Foundation a reality spoke.

“The ground work for a Sint Maarten Tourism Authority was set out a long time ago.  We had to find a way to get it established and working, and this has been accomplished.  The Harbour and Airport have been facilitators of this process.

“Now this historic moment will go down in the books as the day where some of our prominent stakeholders will be focused in marketing and representing destination Sint Maarten,” Minister Hon. Ted Richardson pointed out.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SXM Airport Regina Labega expressed her gratitude and happiness to the Hon. Minister and his Cabinet for this great achievement.  “A lot of effort and work was spent through the years and today the establishment of the much needed authority is now a reality,” Labega said.

“Today can be described as an exceptional day.  This means that there will be better marketing for the country which is critical,” the newly elected Vice Chairman Keith Graham said.

Mingo, the newly elected Chairman of the STA: “I can remember when Ms. Labega from the Airport and me signed the official documents back in August to establish the STA.  We have now reached the point of formalizing the board and we now can move forward.”

Jim Rosen from the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA): “I echo the same sentiments as my colleagues that it is a historic day.  The process has taken many years, but we have succeeded after many other government officials attempted.  We are all here to represent the STA and Sint Maarten. Each member has great knowledge and abilities to move tourism forward.”

Chef de Cabinet of Minister Richardson, Ludwig Ouenniche: “In the very beginning of the term of this Cabinet, the establishment of the STA was a high priority on the Ministry Road Map.  Today, is a significant day for Sint Maarten’s main industry, tourism, to be looked at from the sustainability and enhancement points of view to keep us at a competitive edge over the rest of the destinations in the region, especially when other islands are moving forward at a rapid speed.  This group of key stakeholders from the tourism sector has the experience and now jointly has the vehicle to take us forward.”

Minister Hon. Ted Richardson concluded that it makes him very proud and happy to have reached the final point where the country has its own operational STA that can take quick decisions with respect to marketing and promoting the country to attract more tourists.

The STA Foundation was incorporated on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Sint Maarten Harbour Holding Company and the Princess Juliana International Airport Exploitation Company, in the presence of the minister at Notary Office Boekhoudt.

Minister Hon. Ted Richardson along with his Cabinet has been working on finding a solution to the establishment of the STA Foundation since September 2013.

The Council of Ministers approved the establishment of the STA Foundation and the Minister had the authority to establish the STA under his ministry prerogatives.

The purpose of the STA Foundation is: to temporarily assist in carrying out the tourism policy of the government of Sint Maarten as a tourist destination and to support the growth of Sint Maarten’s land and sea based tourism by providing the public and the private sector with focused, sustainable and productive marketing, and the enhancement of visitor experience.

STA will also assist and guide in, and direct all matters related to tourism, whether upon initiative from the public sector or the private sector.

The STA Foundation will execute the aforementioned tasks until the government has incorporated the STA in the form of a so-called Independent Governing Body (Zelfstandig Bestuursorgaan ZBO), which will immediately upon its incorporation be solely responsible for and solely authorized to execute the aforementioned tasks.

STA Foundation will have a Supervisory Council consisting of five members whose appointment will be made by: Harbour Group of Companies; Princess Juliana International Airport; St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association; St. Maarten Timeshare Association; and one member who shall be appointed by the Minister.

The Supervisory Council is entrusted with the supervision over the policy and management of the Board of the foundation, and the general course of affairs of the foundation.

There will also be an Advisory Committee, which shall have as its sole task to assist the Supervisory Council, at its request with advice on all matters related to the execution of its tasks.

The Advisory Council shall consist of six members who will be as follows: St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Sint Maarten Small Properties Association; St. Maarten Marine Trade Association; an entity representing retailers on Sint Maarten, and during the period such entity does not exist, by the Indian Merchants Association; Dutch St. Maarten Tourist Bureau; and the Tourist Office of Saint Martin (French side).
Both Supervisory and Advisory Councils have been informed of the incorporation of the STA Foundation.