Low season: "We have to become competitive again"

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The Saint-Martin Tourist Office will unveil its long-awaited new communication campaign on Thursday, at a time when tourist attendance in the low season continues to deteriorate, and this year is no exception. The high season does not compensate for this difficult period for the island. Update with Philippe Thevenet, head of the Association of Hoteliers of Saint-Martin (AHSM).

How is the low season?

We will have precise figures on attendance in July and August later, but we can already say that we are in a low season behind compared to 2014. Fortunately, the high season was good in progress compared to the year last. In 2015, the euro / dollar parity helped us a lot, but our situation is still structurally difficult, due to the costs, costs, and of course the increasingly fierce competition.

Cuba already attracts a large number of Americans. How do you see the future?

This destination will affect the entire Caribbean market. I remain confident, because the American clientele comes to Saint-Martin to find particular atmospheres, a style, a certain way of life that they will not find in Cuba. Alas, this island will draw considerable funding, to the detriment of other Caribbean countries.

How to attract more tourists to us?

It's up to us to communicate, to sell Saint-Martin with a strong image, by developing an attractive product. You have to be imaginative. We have a real challenge to take up by improving our infrastructure, our public services and protecting our heritage. Cuba is going to be refurbished with hundreds of millions of dollars. We must wake up! We have budgets that are not up to the challenges. We suffer too much in low season, and it is absolutely necessary to become competitive again. A 5-star all-inclusive stay in Greece for a week costs less than a Paris - Saint-Martin flight. A tourist quickly made the choice!

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