May-Ling on Natural Disasters: Tourism sector must be ready for them

The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) in collaboration with the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), on June 29 concluded their Hurricane Preparedness Forum for critical partners that dealt with the development of a proper Communications and Logistic Plans for the national tourism sector.

Some of the critical partners for STB are St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA), the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry, SXM Airport, Port St. Maarten, Red Cross, Department of Communication (DCOMM), bus transportation companies, Nature Foundation, EPIC, and K1 Brittania.

PHOTO CUTLINE GROUP: Attendees at the Forum. (DCOMM Photo)

The objective of the Forum was to create a communication and logistical operations plan between STB and its critical partners as part of the Emergency Support Function (ESF) 10, which encompasses the port, airport and hotels with respect to visitor safety and security.

The critical partners, STB and ESF 10 would utilize this operational plan that would outline what steps need to be taken if there was another hurricane strike.

STB is part of the ESF 10 Secretary General of TEATT’s Team, which falls under the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (Ministry TEATT).

Director of the STB May-Ling Chun during her presentation said that the organization of the Forum came at a crucial time. “…Weather is changing quickly on us and these Category 5 or other natural disasters for that matter no longer are once in a blue moon. Reality is we have to be ready for them.”

The forum was about learning from the tourism sector’s experiences regarding Hurricane Irma and coming up with solutions that can be utilized for the 2018 and future Atlantic hurricane seasons.

Other presentations were made by Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Miguel De Weever, and a representative from the Sint Maarten Police Force Inspector Mr. Goud.