St. Maarten Welcomes Interest By Choice Hotels

ST. MAARTEN – St. Maarten’s tourism authorities are welcoming interest by an American hospitality company to expand its network of Caribbean hotels to the island.

Speaking ahead of this week’s annual St. Maarten-St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow (SMART), Director of Tourism Regina LaBega said attracting trusted brands to the destination was very important at a time when there were limited resources to spend on marketing and advertising.

Regina Labega, St. Maarten’s Director of Tourism

“With the Radisson, Sonesta and Westin brands already on island, it would be a welcome addition to introduce Choice Hotels in the rich mix of hotel offerings,” LaBega stated.

“Choice Hotels has a phenomenal marketing apparatus, the kind of which would help prominently position the destination in the global marketplace,” LaBega added as she extended the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau’s support to Choice Hotels in concert with partners across the island’s hospitality industry.

Jose Salvador Icaza, director of Emerging Markets & Caribbean Franchise Development for Choice Hotels, thanked LaBega for her vision and looked forward to “exploring opportunities” while in St. Maarten this week.

“We anticipate developing a long term relationship with the destination’s tourism partners,” asserted Icaza, explaining that Choice Hotels has a number of attractive options for independent hotels, including the highly successful Ascend Collection membership program.

The Ascend Collection program is not a traditional franchise concept but one designed specifically for Historic, Boutique or Unique hotels – it was developed specifically for people who appreciate an upscale hotel with a strong local flair.

“Member hotels,” he explained, “share a passion for delivering attentive service to guests seeking a more experimental travel experience. And since the properties are independently owned and associated with Choice Hotels, operators get the peace of mind that comes with the global reach of an international organization.”

SMART, to be held May 25 to 27 at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, attracts international buyers to meet with suppliers in the tourism industry from St. Maarten/St. Martin and surrounding islands in the Eastern Caribbean.

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