Recent comments in the media give the impression that Private sector wants to control the tourism department/ Ministry; this is simply not true. In actuality, the SHTA has always been an advocate of public-private partnership. As a matter of fact, when the Ministry proposed a Tourism Authority consisting of purely private sector representatives, the SHTA commented that Government's presence is critical for this structure to operate effectively.
The SHTA agrees that balance is needed and believes that both Government and the private sector have roles to play in the success of the destination; Government needs to generate interest and the private sector needs to convert this interest into revenue, which goes back into Government's coffers.
The SHTA also feels that the process of establishing the Tourism Authority has been too lengthy (+/- 10 years) considering that every other island has already moved to a Tourism Authority structure or is in the process of moving towards this structure. The framework for such a structure should therefore be available for duplication/ reference rather than Government having to reinvent the wheel completely.
Furthermore, with regards to the Minister's comment: "Wie betaalt, bepaalt" the SHTA is emphasizing that tax money isn't Government's money; it's the people's money. The people of St. Maarten need Government to create demand for the destination, because quite frankly if the destination does well, everyone will benefit.