SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS - The Honorable Stuart Johnson, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication is in The Netherlands where he spent much of Wednesday speaking with the Netherlands Bureau for Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) on solidifying collaboration agreements for improving St. Maarten's Marketing Strategy.
Johnson, who adjusted the first half of the planned European Tour to promote St. Maarten, wasted no time on arrival in The Netherlands. He has already met with the Partnership Development Manager Thijs de Groot and the Project Manager for Strategy and Branding Emilie Zonnevylle for the NBTC. During Wednesday's meeting, Johnson discussed with NBTC how St. Maarten can improve its branding effort with some support and how the island can benefit from expanded use and gathering of information.
He said improving the way we collect and use data can assist St. Maarten, where it pertains plans for increased brand recognition. "In general, creating a better and more sustainable strategy for branding St. Maarten as a preferred vacation destination is our ultimate goal," said Johnson.
According to Johnson, there has to be a "paradigm shift" in terms of how we brand the destination. Increased focus will be put into deciphering what the data collected by TEATT from visitors and focus groups are saying about St. Maarten as a vacation destination.
Johnson said, "The discussions were fruitful and will continue as the NBTC and TEATT through the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau STB, work on details of their plans including Kingdom relation-building."
The NBTC 2030 development plans titled, Perspective 2030 was shared and highlighted with a presentation to Johnson and his delegation.
"We must focus on quality tourism for our country and continue to lead by example in every sector of the industry," Johnson stated.
Some of the areas identified for improving St. Maarten's destination marketing strategy include, Influence marketing putting more of our local artist out into the wider-world to sell the destination. He explained that where it concerns Influence Marketing, it is an opportunity to both showcase the local talent and use their skillsets as artists to captivate their audience and promote St. Maarten.
"The plan is also to increase our reach through networking and to solidify our message of being open for business as "the best vacation destination on earth" by capitalizing on positive stories from visitors to further strengthen our message," said Johnson.