Minister of TEATT Floats Idea of City Manager With Indian Merchants Association

July 2, 2024 11:29 am

The possible introduction of a City Manager to develop strategies aimed at attracting not only residents and cruise visitors to Philipsburg but also stop-over or stay-over guests was discussed recently.

A “City Manager” was one of the proposed strategies for improving the tourist product, which Hon. Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication (TEATT), discussed with a delegation of the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) at a meeting last week.

The Minister outlined the actions already taken to enhance the Marketplace and improve the product and visitor experience in town and other parts of the island, and plans for the beautification of St. Maarten, and making sure that the Marketplace and other areas are kept clean and well-maintained.

The discussions then focused on the upcoming Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) conference and the need to complete the reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport, not just for that important event in October, but also for the start of the high tourist season.

The IMA president and board raised concerns about the need for efficient speed in and out of the airport as well as traffic issues that deter shoppers from visiting town.

Furthermore, the IMA delegation cited current load-shedding and power outages as urgent issues, highlighting the damage these cause to the St. Maarten brand and tourism product, as well as to equipment.

Additionally, the delegation of businessmen said the outages contribute to the rise in petty crimes. They pointed to an uptick in small incidents and called for improved security measures.

“I am satisfied with how the meeting went,” said Heyliger-Marten, who added that she will ensure that there is a follow-up shortly.​