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Public, Private Sectors Develop Plan Of Action Regarding Imminent Closure Of Simpson Bay Resort & Marina

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PRESS RELEASE #168


PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (Feb. 17, 2011) - In an effort to sustain minimal fallout from the anticipated closure of Simpson Bay Resort & Marina and The Villas at Simpson Bay as of Sunday February 20, Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has announced that a public-private sector plan of approach has been formulated during a Monday meeting at the Government Administration Building.

The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) and the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA), commended the Prime Minister for calling together a "crisis team" to assess and mitigate the impending closure of the resort.

Every effort will be made for government-appointed mediators to bring both parties (union and new resort owner) back to the negotiating table, as it is felt that an agreement regarding employment at the resort will go a long way in resolving the other issues that lead to the announced closure of the Simpson Bay Resort & Marina and The Villas at Simpson Bay.

The SHTA and SMTA will continue their efforts to offer alternative accommodations to those timeshare members directly and immediately affected by the closure of the timeshare resort. "This gesture by the two organizations is deeply appreciated, especially at this peak time in our tourism season," said Honorable Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.

The SMTA is also communicating to timeshare owners of the former Pelican property to provide information as it becomes available. Both tourism organizations will also solicit, via their memberships, 'add-ons' for timeshare guests who will be impacted by the closure of the resort, such as restaurant services and other tourist activities, including car rentals.

Government, acknowledging the long-term ramifications of sudden closures, committed drafting timeshare legislation that would mitigate in the future such fallout being experienced currently due to the Simpson Bay Resort & Marina situation.

Government will issue a direct statement, possibly through the SMTA, to affected timeshare owners, expressing government's resolve to seek immediate solutions to avert the closure of the former Pelican property or, in any case, facilitate to have the resorts re-open in the shortest possible timeframe.

Both private sector organizations reiterated the need for structural public-private sector cooperation.

The SHTA reservations center is available to assist with inquiries and bookings at 1-800-309-2005 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Attending the meeting on behalf of Government was Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic, Tourism, Traffic and Telecommunications Miguel De Weever; Head of the Labour Department, Section Policy Raphael Boasman; Head of the Department of Legislation Henkjan Habermehl; Cabinet of the Prime Minister Policy Support Emilia Thomas and Ramona Thomas.

Representing the SHTA was Valya Pantophlet and for the SMTA were Ricardo Perez, Mayra Provance and Jim Rosen.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. As "the culinary capital of the Caribbean," St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.

Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island's 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island's scuba diving and snorkeling facilities. The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a bustling city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.

Accommodations are varied 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.

Find St. Maarten on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VacationStMaarten and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StMaartenTravel. For more information, visit www.VacationStMaarten.com.

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