A “cooperative marketing campaign” between St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) and TUI Tour Operator (see related story) will hopefully lead to more bookings from the Netherlands. Let’s face it, thus far the destination with North America as traditional source market has not made optimal use of the potential Dutch holiday travel offers.
That is certainly the case compared to Curaçao, where tourism from the Netherlands dominates. Aruba also relies mostly on the US and Canada, but does get a more significant number of Dutch visitors.
STB’s press release made no mention of plans for TUI’s own airline to resume service from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). When those flights stopped in the past it was reportedly agreed that TUI would focus on the so-called ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) and – more or less – leave the Windward Islands to KLM.
If true, this was questionable at best in terms of cartel forming, especially considering that carriers from other European Union (EU) countries do not have rights for routes within the kingdom. In addition, both TUI and KLM have plenty flights to the ABC islands, so what’s the problem?
In any case quite some time has passed since and circumstances do change. Perhaps TUI could even consider flying here from neighbouring Belgium instead, so especially people in the southern part of the Netherlands can simply cross the open border by car, bus, or train to board their plane to “The Friendly Island.”
Efforts to get more guests from these two Dutch-speaking countries are a worthwhile investment. Besides, it’s always advisable to avoid putting all proverbial eggs in one basket.