Post hurricane Irma and Maria, Government continues to seek out ways to bridge the current economic and social gaps evolving in our community. The Ministry of VSA and TEATT has partnered with the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) to introduce a hospitality training program for persons working in the tourism sector. It is a paid training program with the objective to prevent mass layoffs in the hospitality industry.
“A successful St. Maarten always depends on its people. The success of our work force in this training project will be a major factor in determining how well St. Maarten’s economy will rebound and its ability to compete with other countries in the region.” – Cornelius de Weever (Minister TEATT)
“As long as the tourism sector does not (fully) recover, programs need to be put in place which will help ensure the livelihood of persons. This project is one of the PIER’s (personal incentives for economic recovery) program which provides cash for temporary employment, training or education to underemployed and unemployed persons. We commend the initiators of the project which has presented a viable solution and opportunity for the vulnerable group of employees and employers; this is a true example of using a disaster as an opportunity to grow and become stronger.” – Emil Lee (Minister VSA)
It is a known reality that the majority of local business operations have been severely impacted. The hospitality industry of St. Maarten is a major employer and many would conclude that the pillar of our economy has been significantly hit. An anticipated consequence of this is mass dismissals and business closures. Recognizing the opportunity to train, upgrade and enhance the skills of workers (or previous) in the hospitality industry for the boost of the tourism product; the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) consequently initiated a hospitality training geared towards enhanced hospitality skills.
The subsidy granted allows this program to be sustainable for another 4 months with the possibility to train some 1350 persons. Government is committed to sustain this project throughout the recovery process and has been working in close collaboration with the World Bank and the Netherlands to ensure the program can be expanded once additional funding is made available.
In exchange for work rendered or training undertaken, eligible individuals are provided with an income in the form of a stipend and keep their job in the hospitality sector. The cash-based approach not only encourages trade, production, and creates secondary economic benefits, but also allows people greater choice and control over how they will rebuild their lives, thus helping to restore their dignity as well as their livelihoods.

“This project will improve our service product and our hospitality sector as a whole and create stability on the labor market. This also safeguards the livelihoods of the vulnerable groups for instance women who aren’t easily mobilized into the construction industry.” – Emil Lee (Minister VSA)
The Project will be executed by the Sint Maarten Training foundation, for more information see the website: or mail to in**@ho**************.sx. Further information on subscribing to the program will be published by the Sint Maarten Training Foundation.
Government will continue to seek, develop and support similar types of training opportunities for other sectors within our economy. In aims that we truly recover and achieve the build back better as a community.