GREAT BAY (DCOMM)L--- Minister Hon. Ingrid Arrindell of the Ministry Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), is extending an invitation to the business community to be a part of the Sint Maarten delegation that will be attending the 35th Annual Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism (ANATO).
The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau will have a joint booth with the Anguilla Tourist Board.
ANATO which is being organized by Vitrina Turistica, will be held at Corferias, Bogota, Colombia from February 24 to 26. The tourism trade fair will attract representatives from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America.
The three day event is expected to lead to approximately 30,000 business contacts being made between exhibitors translating into an annual turnover of close to US$150 billion, according to the Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism.
This is the third largest trade show in South America, and attracts notable travel agencies, tour operators, wholesalers and media representatives from South and North America and the Caribbean.
According to the latest ANATO figures, over 3.9 million Colombian tourists traveled to a foreign destination on holiday in 2014. This is an increase of 8.5 per cent when compared to 2013 when over 3.6 million took a holiday.
“The business community should not depend on Government alone to promote the destination. Hotel properties, tour operators, transportation providers, all have a role to play, and it’s in their interests to help promote the destination which also promotes their own businesses and at the same time securing business opportunities with other providers.
“Today Colombian tourists do not need a visa to visit Sint Maarten. We need to capitalize on this market where close to four million Colombians took a holiday in 2014. The air access is already there with our partner COPA Airlines out of Panama.
“The three-day event will allow us as a destination to explore business to business opportunities with key partners in the tourism industry that is essential for the sustainable tourism development of our own sector.
“We have to continue to reach out to other travel markets and Colombia is a growing travel market with more than 3.5 million travelers annually.
“We will be using the attendance of the trade show to foster relationships with respective partners in an effort to have our destination included in their product line. It is also an opportunity to meet with the travel media in order to promote travel to the destination. Destination Sint Maarten has much to offer, especially the island-hopping aspect when we look at our sister-island of Anguilla who we are working with to make our representation at the show a success.
“Therefore, I appeal to the business community to get on-board and let us jointly showcase what we have to offer as a destination. Tourism is all about us together working to bring more visitors to destination Sint Maarten.
“Hotel properties, tour operators and other tourists related service provider interested in being part of the trade show delegation should contact the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau for details,” Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Ingrid Arrindell said on Sunday.
ANATO, is a non-profit organization comprising of industry representatives, who defend and promote the general interests of tourism and travel agencies in Colombia. It was created in October 1949.