President of St Martin Tourism (French Side) Provides State of the Island at Tourism Conference

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.

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Jon Ferlise

I fell in love with the island of Saint Martin the first time I visited to celebrate my 40th birthday in May of 2009. Since then, I've spent most birthdays there, and have visited countless other times getting to know this wonderful place and the friendly locals that make it so special. I adore the culture, the people, the community, and the beauty of this stunning island. SXM Strong is a website that I started to support humanitarian relief efforts following Hurricane Irma. There was no plan, it just evolved as I witnessed the devastation that Irma caused the island and the huge need to communicate and disseminate information about what had happened and how people could help support this island and its people.

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