PHILIPSBURG:---The Cabinet of the Minister of Tourism on Monday announced that local tourism professional Rolando Brison has been appointed Interim Head of Tourism at the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB). Brison (32), who holds a degree in Tourism & Recreation Management and was the selected Director for the St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA), is appointed for a one-year period after which his body of work will be evaluated.
Once the new Minister of Tourism is appointed and sworn in, the intention is to re-evaluate the structure of the STA and chart a way forward for the organization, including the drafting of a new master plan for tourism. To be considered for the position, Brison had to resign his legal claim as Director of STA. He said this was not an issue for him as he simply wants to work on behalf of his country in the field that he loves.
Although the finalization of the STA is a central part of the TEATT governing program, and the intention is to use the STA as the marketing and product developing authority for St. Maarten, the final realization of the STA will take some time as a board still has to be appointed by the incoming Minister. Brison had scored the highest out of all candidates for the STA.
Brison recently formed part of the St. Maarten Team that recently attended the Routes Americas Conference and contributed in the discussions that included Southwest airlines and others. He was also the first person on St. Maarten to draft a Tourism Budget Analysis Report, presented publicly and to government departments and Parliament.
His tasks at the STB can be summarized as follows:
- Provide management, leadership, and training to the office, while ensuring that the day to day tasks are completed by all staff; all of this in line with the wishes of the Ministry and Minister and in accordance with all rules and regulations of government.
- To assist the Ministry in aspects related to the St. Maarten Tourism Authority STA, including, but not limited to: Writing the Business Plan, assisting with the Service Level Agreement, Reviewing proposals for the STA, market research.
- To assist the minister with any other matters related to the tourism marketing and product of St. Maarten when requested by the Minister
Additionally, Brison will abide by all personnel policies and regulations of government, including those of performance management and evaluation. Unlike exorbitant contracts of the past, Brison is being compensated based on the established salary for the function of Department Head of the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau.
“Tourism is the pillar of the island’s economy. In executing its tasks the STB has been unable to effectively spend its entire marketing and product development budgets for several consecutive years. The tourism statistics for the last year have shown a decline across the board in stay-over tourism as well as cruise tourism. Needless to say, that this is not the route to follow, seeing tourism is the pillar of our economy,” a release from the Cabinet read.
It continued: “In order to manage the STB more effectively, efficiently and lead the staff as well as improve the marketing and product development efforts at the STB, it is crucial to have a department head that thinks outside the box, can apply creative strategies and is in tune with the ever-competitive tourism sector across all facets.
“Mr. Brison fits this mold and has already presented plans to the Cabinet with both short and long-term solutions to our challenges as they relate to the sector. He is a young, local professional who is eager to elevate St. Maarten’s tourism product to its true potential.”