Earlier today, at the Caribbean Tourism Organization, or CTO, annual State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), the president of Saint Martin Tourism, Valarie Damaseau, gave an update on the state of affairs on the French side of the island. Dutch Director of Tourism, Rolando Brison also gave an update, which you can read about here.
Since Hurricane Irma hit, the information coming out of the French side of the island has been much more limited than information available on conditions of the Dutch side. That theme remained today which was evident in Damaseau’s structured, prepared opening comments and her lack of substantive details when questioned.
Here are a few of the key points from her comments, with the video from the press conference below:
- There are clear signs of recovery on Saint Martin
- All roads and beaches have been cleared of debris
- 80% of homes have electricity, with 100% expected by the end of the month (October)
- Water and telecommunications have largely been restored
- All stores and gas stations are fully provisioned with goods
- Some restaurants, bars and businesses are currently open
- L’Espérance Airport in Grand Case has been open since September 23
- Restaurants on Boulevard de Grande Case are aiming to open in February 2018
- One lolo, Sky is the Limit, is now open
Damaseau continued during her presentation and stated that the main focus of the island was to be well prepared and fully organized for the 2018/19 season. As you might expect, that created some confusion, as this was the first time — at least that I’d heard — that the French side was less focused on 2017/18 and more so on the following season.
When asked to clarify her comments, Damaseau said that the island is open now to receive people but that the focus will remain on 2018/19. She also mentioned that St. Martin government is engaged with the French government in Paris in high-level discussions around possible assistance for the residents in St. Martin.
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Here’s the video from the press conference. Damaseau begins around the -1:07:00 time remaining mark.