PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (April 8, 2010) – The St. Maarten Annual Regional Trade Show (SMART 2010) will take place this year at the stylish Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino in the chic and fashionable Maho area of St. Maarten (http://www.VacationStMaarten.com).
Building on the momentum achieved in recent years, SMART 2010 will focus on St. Maarten and its tropical neighbors as the show has evolved into a much larger event with significant ramifications for the entire region.
While last year’s event reached unprecedented heights due to St. Maarten’s collaboration with French St. Martin (the event was hosted on the French side for the first time at the Radisson St. Martin Resort, Marina & Spa), this year’s SMART will see new levels of cooperation from tourism entities from all over the region, including Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, B.V.I., Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barthes, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts & Nevis, and of course, St. Maarten and St. Martin.
“In addition to our culinary diversity, duty-free shopping and exhilarating night life, part of St. Maarten’s draw is that it is the perfect place to call home-base for travelers embarking on an island hopping adventure to one or more of the many countries that surround our tropical paradise,” said Regina LaBega, Director of Tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. “As a result, we have been exploring synergies for our marketing of the region with neighboring islands.
“Naturally, we sought to encourage the maximum participation of the region’s islands, properties and operators in our development of SMART 2010, which is expected to be the most comprehensive regional trade show in the Northeastern Caribbean,” added LaBega.
SMART 2010 kicks off with a Welcome Reception at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, May 25 at Porto Cupecoy, strategically chosen due to its location on the border of French St. Martin and Dutch St. Maarten. The evening’s keynote address will be provided by Commissioner Frans Richardson, Commissioner of Economic Affairs and Tourism, Sports, Government Information Services and Aviation Affairs for St. Maarten.
Appointments will be scheduled at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino for the entire day on Wednesday, May 26, with a working lunch scheduled for 12:30 pm. Some additional appointments will be scheduled for Thursday, May 27, however, the majority of the day will be devoted to workshops, hotel visits, island tours and activities.
Tour operators serving the region as well as hoteliers, tourism officials, local operators and other hospitality companies from various destinations throughout the Eastern Caribbean are encouraged to register for SMART 2010 immediately.
Companies with an ID and password can now click here to register online. To request an ID and password, contact the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) at +599-542-0108 or e-mail SMART@shta.com.
While the tiny island of St. Maarten (it is only 37 square miles) is arguably the most popular vacation destination in the Northeastern Caribbean, it is but one of several tightly knit islands that are all just a hop, skip and jump away from one another.
For starter’s, Anguilla sits a mere seven miles north of St. Maarten and is a must for scuba divers due to its ecologically important coral formations. Southeast of St. Maarten lies the elegant island of St. Barthes, and Saba is a tiny dormant volcano island owing its natural beauty to lush vegetation rather than large beach areas. Not to be left out, another nearby dormant volcano island is saddle-shaped St. Eustatius, named after the Catholic Saint Eustace.
Of course, to arrive at the closest nation to St. Maarten, one need not take a boat or plane – one can simply drive from Dutch St. Maarten to the French side of the island, known as St. Martin. St. Maarten and St. Martin co-exist on the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, in this case, the Netherlands and France.
Each of these countries, and others, will be represented in some capacity at SMART 2010, adding further significance to the most important regional trade show in the Northeastern Caribbean.
St. Maarten is truly a unique island in several ways. It is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. St. Maarten is also the culinary capital of the Caribbean with an eclectic array of elegantly-perfected culinary fusion to keep “food lovers” returning each year. And with more than 300 restaurants, the island has tastes to satisfy every palate and pocketbook.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 36 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions including the vastly abundant treasure of rare animal and plant species at the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden. Unique attractions include the historic Fort Amsterdam, the St. Maarten Museum, and the picturesque and symbolic Mount Concordia, where the Treaty of Concordia was signed more than 350 years ago to promote peaceful coexistence of two cultures on one island.
The Dutch capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with bustling city atmosphere in the heart of the Caribbean, while nightlife activities provide endless entertainment with 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs. During the day water sport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island’s scuba diving and snorkeling facilities which are located throughout the island. The island boasts a wide array of marine biodiversity and unique underwater dive sites that include the H.M.S. Proselyte, a notable British frigate which sank in St. Maarten’s waters since 1801.
Accommodations are varied with many designed to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning traveler and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
Click below to view that year's corresponding press.Return to Press