The TripAdvisor and Expedia campaigns, lauded for contributing to an increase in stay-over tourism in 2016, is proposed to be expanded over an 18-month period which would see a higher financial commitment from government. Discussions are ongoing.
Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher on Thursday said that contrary to reports that the campaigns would be stopped or funding significantly reduced, government is looking at how it can maintain the campaigns and increase funding over a longer period. The original campaign was just a few months while the current proposal could result in commitments of up to two years.
The Minister further explained that one of the key-elements being discussed with Expedia are page take-overs. Page take-overs could potentially have the background of Expedia pages promote St. Maarten exclusively during periods when increasing destination traffic is vital.
“So despite Expedia’s proposal being for a specific amount, we already have plans to be able to include additional page take-overs,” the Minister said. “It is estimated that we could potentially triple the amount of promotion we’ve done with Expedia in the past with the page take-overs,” she added.
The Minister said that once discussions are completed, which should be soon, all information will be released to the public. The TripAdvisor and Expedia campaigns are government funded. The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) does not contribute directly as an association. Some of the association’s members do contribute to the campaigns.