BY KRISTIN O'MEARA
Reed Travel Features
PHILIPSBURG -- The St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing
Association (SAMA) is gearing up to promote the island in the
Midwest this summer while covering its bases on the East Coast.
According to president Cyndi Miller, the independent marketing
group will head for Midwestern cities as part of its twice-yearly
presentations to retailers.
Eight seminars will be offered from June 9 through 13, Miller
said, in breakfast and dinner programs conducted in major cities
such as Cleveland and Detroit.
"We will invite about 150 agents to each presentation; we're
finalizing our venues over the next few weeks," she said.
Miller said that it is important for SAMA to target these
secondary markets now, after focusing on rebuilding the Middle
Atlantic and Northeast markets in the time following Hurricane Luis
"I think we've gotten the message out, and now we need to reach
out to the Midwest to expand on the story," she said.
The group is in the final days of a Northeast sales blitz
focusing on Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and
SAMA representatives from 26 island hotels and major tour
operators are in the process of visiting approximately 600 area
agencies, Miller said.
Participating operators are Friendly Holidays, Gogo Worldwide
Vacations, Globetrotters, GWV, TNT-Haley and Travel Impressions,
In addition, SAMA is sponsoring agency functions, such as a
meeting of Travel Agents of Brooklyn, and will be represented at a
monthly meeting of the New Jersey chapter of the Caribbean Tourism
Organization. The group also will participate in Travel
Impressions' shows in the southeastern U.S., she said.
"We're discussing the openings and reopenings of several hotels,
as well as the addition of new charter service by TNT from
Pittsburgh," she said.
The service, slated to run weekly from June 29 through Aug. 31,
will be operated on 727 equipment by Sun Pacific Airlines, with
onward service to Antigua.
The operator will feature seven-night packages as well as
Package prices start at $799 per person, double, at the Marine
Hotel, including transfers, taxes, tips and departure taxes.
Roundtrip air-only rates start at $499.
For more information on the new service, call (800)