What tourism for Saint-Martin? Attract and keep high-end visitors

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A tourism professional, Ali Laggoune, works on the organization of seminars and business trips. He collaborates with many tour operators from different countries, and cruise lines, to attract wealthy tourists to Saint Martin. For thirty years, Ali Laggoune has been developing this tourism sector and telling us about its trends for the coming season, but also its aspirations and visions to welcome upscale tourists. Interview…

Faxinfo: What do you think of the start of the 2019-2020 season?

• Ali Laggoune: The start of the season was punctuated by the resumption of cruises, by individual activity, but also by trips to locate the clientele of high-end groups and business tourism, who will come in 2021 and who will visit as soon as now. The fact of working on 2021 shows that the demands are very strong. The real restart in a destination that will have regained its colors will be for 2021. Mid-cruising boats like Windstar Cruises, Star Clippers, or Sea Dream are starting to come to Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy and Anguilla.

Regarding individual customers, the season will be somewhat of a transition, since it is cut off by the absence of hotels which will open in mid-season, or even at the end, such as the Secret Saint-Martin Resort & Spa. at Anse Marcel.

 Faxinfo: Do ​​tourism professionals plan to collaborate with each other?

• Ali Laggoune: In terms of promotion, I continue to preach the creation of an organization that would bring together tourism professionals, hoteliers, travel agents, restaurateurs, etc., under one roof. Sharing our experiences, our experiences, and our reflections would help better target potential customers in order to allow us to spend the season at best. For the moment, we are not there yet.

In view of the harshness of the times and the delay to catch up following Irma, it would be advisable to work together, hand in hand, to see very exactly what is necessary to try to hasten the complete delivery on the market of Saint Martin , French part. There are too many energies being spent in different directions. We must make a sacred union of all professional tourism officials, even if we are all competitors.

Faxinfo: Are you optimistic about the coming season?

• Ali Laggoune: We can be satisfied with an optimism in principle by saying that everything will be fine, but that is not enough. There are many more requirements to be met. The neighboring destinations of Anguilla and Saint-Barth are very sophisticated, very high-end, so Saint Martin must be more than a simple hub, a simple land of passage for those who go to these two destinations.

Interview by RM

(continued in Monday's edition)

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