Tourism: The Executive Council asks the government to lift the overriding reasons for travel to Saint-Martin

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The new health measures, imposed without consultation at the national level from February 2, 2021, have put a sudden end to leisure and business visits to our territory. Meeting in plenary session on Wednesday February 24, the Executive Council unanimously expressed a wish of the 6 councilors present, asking the government to reconsider the situation of Saint-Martin and to lift the travel restrictions.

As President Daniel Gibbs recalled during the session, the Territory is less vulnerable to SARS-Cov-2. Indeed, the demographic structure of Saint-Martin is not the same as in France: those over 75 only represent 2,2% of the local population: this is four times less than in Guadeloupe (9,1 , 9,5%) and in hexagonal France (XNUMX%).

In addition, since the reopening of the border between the two parts of the island (September 16, 2020), the incidence rate in Saint-Martin is generally lower than that of mainland France. At the same time, for nearly three months, the positivity rate displayed has systematically remained below the alert threshold of 10% (4,7% during the week of February 15, 2021; national average: 6,5%).

In addition, Saint-Martin is characterized by an undeniable situation of “double insularity”, requiring the structural maintenance of air links with Guadeloupe and, beyond, with hexagonal France, professional trips intended to be frequent.

For all these reasons, the elected members of the Executive Council believe that it is essential to take into account the significant and structural dependence of the Saint-Martin economy on the tourism sector, a fortiori in a context of unprecedented economic and social crisis. .

  The Executive Council asks the government:

1- A significant and lasting strengthening of the material and human resources of the Saint-Martin Hospital Center, in the event that the “British variant” of COVID-19 would prove to be truly more contagious - and above all more lethal;

2- An improvement in public statistical tools in health matters, as well as a strengthening of the local testing capacity, including in terms of detection of "variants" of the virus;

3- Lastly, that a favorable follow-up be given to President Gibbs' proposal to the Minister of Overseas Territories (dated August 17, 2020), of a face-to-face quadripartite meeting (known as “in Q4 mode”) and on the issues of health cooperation between the two parts of the island;

4- A prospect of total opening of the Territory to leisure and business visits from March 2021.

The Executive Council considers that everything must be done to lift the measures restricting movement by land, sea and air, and in particular those affecting air travel between Saint-Martin, the West Indies and hexagonal France. This objective of the programmed lifting of restrictions must be accompanied by easing measures decided locally, and evaluated on a weekly basis.

5- Finally, the Executive Council calls for an ambitious acceleration of the vaccination campaign currently underway, in order to obtain collective immunity likely to allow the Territory to be opened even more quickly to regional, national and international tourism (in particular from the States of North America). Today, only 1,3% of the Saint-Martin population is vaccinated, three times less than the national average.

And for the President of the Com: "it is vital, for the economy of the Territory and its social balance, that the requirement of" compelling reasons "to move, brutally imposed on February 2, be removed as quickly as possible . ".

The wish of the Executive Council was transmitted to the Minister of Overseas Territories, Sébastien Lecornu.

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