St EUSTATIUS – (Picture by Lazywave) Last Monday and Tuesday 2 and 3 July, there was an investment summit on Statia
The Island Governor, Mr. G. Berkel opened the summit, Statia’s Economic Development Vision: Commissioner Economic Affairs, Mr. K. Sneek explained about Statia’s Economic development vision (you can find his speech here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/98904842/Koos-Statia-Investment-Conference-July-1-3-2012-1)
Then Mr. Joe Johnson, VP Planning & Strategic Development, explained about the Medical School expansion plans, the medical school is in advanced stages for expansion. A building permit request for phase 1 has been submitted to government.
Mr Mike McDonald, Manager Nustar Terminal was also present to inform about the alternative smaller expansion.
The Hilton Chief Development Representative – Central America and Caribbean, Mr. Simón B. Suárez was scheduled to be participate in the summit, but his DAE flight from Santo Domingo to SXM was delayed all day on Sunday July 1, and eventually cancelled altogether, so he never made it to SXM to connect on his 5:35 Pm flight to Statua. He is already making new plans to visit the island the third or 4th week of August to explore possible hotel development plans.
Several concrete hotel development projects were discussed. Dihaira Arnaud, General manager of the Old Gin House, Claudia Wickert, Managing Director of Eco Statia, and Mr. Evan Schwartz, President of Joremi NV were present to present their plans. These hotels are in advance stages of project preparation. One problem so far is proving to be the spatial development plan, which will need to be amended to allow the hotel development projects in White Wall, in Lower Town and in Zeelandia.
Captain Luke Smith, CEO BVI Airways and Trish Lorino, Director of Marketing and Public Relations of Cape Air were present at the summit. Both airlines reconfirmed there interest in airlift to Statia and are on standby to launch air service to Statia on short notice, once construction commences for the additional hotel rooms.
Mr. Carlyle Tearr, president of the Chamber of Commerce held a speech and Mr Keith Helmetag of C & G partners deliberated about expanding Statia’s Tourism Product.
The day ended with a performance of Statia’s deejay Private.
Tuesday, the focus was on sustainable development. Stakeholders the tourist foundation, Stenapa, Scubaqua Dive Center shared their ideas and plans and in the afternoon tours were held around the island. Select Tours, City Walking Tours by the historical foundation and Local Tourguide Island Tours and trips were made to potential hotel sites at Lower Town, Zeelandia and Venus Bay.