St. Maarten/St. Martin start $1.2M joint marketing campaign By Gay Nagle Myers / January 16, 2007 Share 1 -- St. Maarten/St. Martin launched a $1.2 million joint marketing campaign called "Bring your appetite for life," designed to unify the French and Dutch sides of the island as one destination. The campaign, unveiled at the Caribbean Hotel Association's annual Marketplace event, Jan. 14 to 16 in Aruba, represents the first time both sides of the island have come together to promote the island as one.The plan is a key aspect of the 10-year tourism master plan first announced in 2005, according to Regina LaBega, director of tourism for Dutch St. Maarten.A new Web site will debut within 90 days that will feature links to both the Dutch and French sides of the island either by using the current Web addresses of www.st-maarten.com or www.stmartin.org.The new tag line "expresses the idea that the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin offers numerous opportunities and experiences for the average traveler," according to LaBega.The island welcomed more than 250,000 U.S. air arrivals in 2006 and 1.3 million cruise passengers.The figures represent a 2% increase over 2005; projections for 2007 forecast a 4% increase. The growth figures to result from hotel openings and expansions as well as increased airlift from U.S. gateways, including the launch of twice-weekly flights on Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale in April and the second daily nonstop flight on American from JFK, now in operation for the winter season but which will go year round in April.The island's inventory of 5,500 rooms includes the 311-room Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, which opened in mid-December and already has more than 8,000 group nights booked in the first quarter of this year.Construction of the 250-room Radisson Resort St. Martin, on the site of the former L'Habitacion property begins Jan. 16, with an opening set for mid-winter 2008.Upcoming events include Carnival St. Martin, Feb. 13 to 19; Carnival St. Maarten, April 21 to May 2; SMART, May 9 to 11; and the Soul Beach Music Festival, May 23 to 28.To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail email@example.com.