PHILIPSBURG:--- The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) calls on membership to share their possible reopenings after hurricane Irma. The association can assist its businesses by providing clarity regarding their post-Irma status. Hotels and accommodations are requested to update weekly as demand is high. Many relief workers, construction teams and airline personnel need lodging in order to help the country recover.
SHTA has witnessed several positive developments and commends many hospitality and business employees giving their best in recovering their businesses. However, it stresses various bottlenecks are still to be overcome.
First and foremost, many Sint Maarten companies suffer from financial uncertainty. As many islands in the region have been struck by Irma and Maria, the workload of the various insurance companies is tremendous. This causes a delay in processing the various claims, leading to extra lack of funds next to the absence of tourist income. In its advice to the National Recovery Plan committee, the association has underlined the need for businesses on island to get either tax relief – as is the case on the French side – or government assistance in continuing the payments to its employees -as the Netherlands did in the aftermath of the credit crunch.
Another point that will be crucial for continued recovery is safety. The assistance of the Koninklijke Marechaussee and Royal Dutch Marines, VKS and KPSM allowed for entrepreneurs to take the first steps towards recovery. As many marines have left and many properties in both hospitality and business are still vulnerable, it is essential to continue to protect the process of rebuilding business.
A third concern of the association for speedy recovery is the continuous availability of building materials, and more importantly, equipment. Even though the association commends the Dutch navy for bringing in tremendous amounts of materials, trucks and heavy equipment will be in continuous use over the upcoming months. This is why the SHTA relief organization SHTA-relief.sx, that took off already the day before Irma, now focuses on these materials.
SHTA Press Release