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Thread: What about some optimism and hope ?

  1. #301
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 4,667

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    yada yada yada

  2. #302
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,397

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by didier View Post
    yada yada yada

    Don't open the thread. It's really that simple.

  3. #303
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    In 2017,to come back to my example,visitors coming for the "Bucket Regatta" could have a "real lunch" at Cheval blanc,Taiwana,Nikki beach,Shellona,Sand Bar,Guanahani,Sereno,Barthelemy,Gloriette,Toiny,La plage,Christopher
    In 2018,this list is somewhat shorter .Down to 2 names.
    My opinion is :this is a problem)


    (A special thank to Laurent,Reed and others for stating the obvious about NB food..and opinions)

    And all opinions are welcome.People living on the island,homeowners,tourists,regular tourists all have a different point of view.It's natural and logical.
    If you have a passion for food,you might end in a restaurant with neighbors dancing on the table,in a tube station,in a remote village in the mountain.It might be considered part of the experience.

  4. #304
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 275

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Thanks for answering my question Chris about your interests in the Island. I actually agree with a lot of what you are saying. I'm probably as far from an expert on the Island as there is here. Heck, I can't even remember if I'm supposed to write "St Barth" or St Barths" and have to look up the spelling for Gouverneur every time I write it. I can only speak for myself. If not for the big hotels on the beach I'm not sure I would have come to St Barths in the first place. I originally booked a room at Eden Roc and then after reading the forum and thinking about it switched to a Villa (and was very happy I did). My original plan was going to be days and meals mostly at the big hotels on the beach. My plan and perception changed as I researched more and more, but it was integral in getting me to decide to come in the first place. I loved Nikki Beach and thought the food there was really good (and I think I'm still paying off the wine bill). I loved sitting at On the Rocks for an after dinner drink overlooking the water and lunch time at the Sand Bar. I do in general love that type of experience. As I stated I was worried I would like spending the day on a beach with no amenities whatsoever...but turns out I loved it and they were my favorite beach experiences. I also love the option of not doing that and going to one the hotels or restos that offer lunch and a chair for the day. It's just your delivery that I was questioning. How can the number of tourists not be down when many Villas and Hotels are closed? It's just Math. I'm not sure how opening a pop up beach bar can change that. Many people have "their Villa" or Hotel that they like and if it isn't available they pass for the year. Also, the number of flights is a "chicken versus the egg" discussion. When people look for flights and don't see them or only see a couple and hear they may be cancelled they book another Island. Many on here will come no matter what, but to most people it is one of a handful of Islands and they will pick another. Many also know there was a Hurricane and know the rebuilding isn't done so they again just went somewhere else. It takes time especially when many people go on one vacation a year and plan it 6 months in advance. When airlines have trouble filling planes they cancel the flights. Not sure how this will change until the Hotels and more Villas open up or more importantly until St Martin is up and running again. This isn't just a St Barth issue. My point was not that you were incorrect stating the numbers were down or that the Hotels and lunch places were an issue for tourists it was more the idea that by opening a couple of pop-up beach bars the problem was going to be solved. If you have a beach like St Jean with Eden Roc on one end and Tom Beach the other (and other places), why not put a few more spots in between? The vibe is there already. Or another place on Shell Beach (Is there room?). But to do so on some of the other beaches would change them forever and indirectly would hurt all of those restaurants that rely on people coming off the beaches to have lunch. So I still look at it as a short term issue. Anyone that expected the Island to rebound in year one was a little too optimistic IMO. It may take a few years to rebound and many years to rebound completely.

    Another thing I have been thinking of is the prices of the Villas this year. It seems the prices have not come down. I'm not one to tell anyone what to charge or what to pay (I think the market will set the proper rate), but I was surprised to not see more discounted rates (or pay for 5, stay for 7 type deals). Sadly a lot of Villa owners are I'm sure struggling to pay off their renovations, but if cutting prices in the short run will bring more people down I just thought it was something I would be seeing and hearing more about. I'm sure if I spoke with some owners or rental agencies they would be willing to negotiate more than usual, but I wouldn't even get to the point of doing that if not close on the price in the first place. Not trying to offend owners or say the should do this, just meant I expected it to have happened based on the issue at hand.

  5. #305
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Thanks,Jim,for that detailed answer.
    There's several hundred villas available on the island today...and the number is climbing quite rapidly.According to journal de St Barth,they expect 85 % of the villas to be back by the end of the summer.(and don't worry.Clients ask for big discounts (and get them)).This is also why i wrote that the island can survive without big hotels for a while.
    What's your opinion about 500 and soon 850 villas available and 2 beach restaurants ? does it make any sense for you ?
    As you rightly said,clients want diversity and options.And the feedback i get from all villa managers is the same:the lack of beach restaurants (or should i say a place for socializing and people watching) is the main issue.
    More importantly,it seems the problem is going to be around for a while.As no one bothers mentioning an update on the renovation in big hotels))
    Did you read the trip report mentioning the Sereno hotel ? (describing it as a war zone)
    Which big hotel will be open for Christmas this year ? (and its beach restaurant ,of course).What will be open on the beaches in 2019 ?

    I fully agree with the "chicken and egg discussion" by the way.We need more visitors to have more flights (and St Martin doing its part).

    This is also why the fire at Christopher was a gigantic disaster for the coming months.That was really devastating.
    Regarding other beaches,my opinion is that the island needs to spread the risks,going forward.Knock out Cul de sac (and that is easy because of the sea level) and St Jean..and you are left with "not much" .I would also argue that all the restaurants should be designed/built "hurricane proof" as they appear to be "vital infrastructure" for the island.
    In my opinion,a new paradigm,a new era is on the way.And being prepared is the best way to face it.

  6. #306
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,214

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris83 View Post
    What's your opinion about 500 and soon 850 villas ...
    The Association des Agences Immobilières de Saint-Barth indicates there are 300 rental villas under their collective agencies and the French Senate’s website refers to 400 total for the island. I’m wondering where the 500 and 850 counts come from?
    Name:  361321BD-E8E0-41D9-9069-D43858439D38.jpg
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    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  7. #307
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    The Association des Agences Immobilières de Saint-Barth indicates there are 300 rental villas under their collective agencies and the French Senate’s website refers to 400 total for the island. I’m wondering where the 500 and 850 counts come from?
    Name:  361321BD-E8E0-41D9-9069-D43858439D38.jpg
Views: 458
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    That's public record...at least in french news )) One of the bonuses of speaking french )

  8. #308
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,214

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris83 View Post
    That's public record.
    I'm sorry, I didn't follow where you meant the 500/850 number came from.
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  9. #309
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    I'm sorry, I didn't follow where you meant the 500/850 number came from.
    Do a bit of research..let's see if you manage
    I will give you a first hint :even google can help

  10. #310
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,214

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    I was trying to be nice, but you're just a jerk
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  11. #311
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    I was trying to be nice, but you're just a jerk
    "trying to be nice" ? Yeah.Sure.

    Anyway,here we go: Nils Dufau, président du Comité du Tourisme de Saint-Barthélémy,"« Nous pouvons accueillir jusqu’à 5 000 visiteurs en même temps » explique le responsable précisant que Saint-Barth totalise « une trentaine d’hôtels (dont 7 classés 5*), soit environ 650 chambres, ainsi que 800 villas représentant 2 200 chambres ».
    (30 hotels/650 rooms .800 villas/2200 rooms;numbers given by the head of St Barth tourism office following irma)




  12. #312
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,214

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Seemingly a disconnect somewhere. Here’s the Le Journal article referring to 300 rental villas represented by the agencies of the real estate association. Of which Wimco is interestingly not a member.Perhaps because it’s not a French company? Plus, presumably some rental villas are rented only thru owners. Name:  841CE6F8-C726-49E2-BCE8-5E08EF5561A3.jpg
Views: 397
Size:  204.1 KB
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  13. #313
    daniela is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2003 Duesseldorf, Germany Posts: 95

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    What a strange discussion is going on.... Maybe its because my English is not that good, but I am feeling an atmosphere I have never experienced in this forum. Sad!
    Of course the year 2018 won´t be like the ones before or next year. There was an awful hurricane hitting the island and it will take time to recover. So maybe this year less tourists will come, but soon this hurricane will be forgotten and people are coming back. I think, it will be more important to work on a good PR to let the world know, that the island is back and more beautiful than ever and I am sure, this will be done and to get the airlines to fly into the region. No one would believe, that with many places closed, things are the same. But is is worse or better? I guess, no answer is possible. Many of us, like my family, decided to go, also to support the island, knowing that it is different but most likely still wonderful.
    My biggest concern are the flights. AirFrance was going to SXM every day, KLM most days of the week. Our AirFrance flights were cancelled some days ago, as AirFrance changed the plan to pick up the daily flights and will only go once a week for the next months. We are still going, but the travel time increased from 13 hours to 19 and 22. That makes a difference for us. On the way home, we need to fly with KLM via Curacao and Amsterdam.
    For summer, I just searched for flights. The flights are extremely expensive (doubled prices) or we have to travel via the US, which is not attractive (immigration, ESTA etc) and takes more than a day. So for travellers from Europe, it will be difficult to get to the area and that might stop many from coming rather the fact, that some restaurants or hotels are closed. I really hope, that AirFrance and KLM will pick up their flights for the season 18/19.

    Interesting story: A friends of ours was planning to join us in April. AirFrance flight is booked so he needs to go via the US. But as he was in Iraque last year, for a business project of an American company by the way, he gets no ESTA for the US. He now goes to Barbados.

  14. #314
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Some news about the SXM airport

    Ballast Nedam to rebuild airport roof
    AMSTERDAM--The large Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam will shortly start on the reconstruction of the roof of the St. Maarten Airport, the magazine of Dutch construction companies Cobouw revealed on Tuesday.
    The new roof will be able to withstand category 5 plus hurricane winds and it needs to be ready before the upcoming hurricane season, said Ballast Nedam’s Area Manager René Overdevest, who is leaving for St. Maarten within short to execute the multi-million project which should start in March.
    The aluminium roof will be designed and built in such a way that it can endure wind speeds of 300 kilometres an hour. This means additional calculating and drawing work with sturdy constructions. The containers with construction material are being filled in the Netherlands and will shortly leave the Netherlands. Specialised building material from the Netherlands will be used. The material, design and calculations are tested in a wind tunnel in the Netherlands to make sure that the roof can withstand extremely high winds. Ballast Nedam will closely cooperate with a Dutch construction company specialised in facades, Prince Cladding and several St. Maarten companies.

    Then ,confirmation of my conversation with the winair rep
    “The airport building is in a very bad state. The roof is badly damaged and the mould has affected the interior. There are tents for departing and arriving passengers. It will take at least a year before the airport terminal building can be used again. It is of great importance to the island’s economy to quickly rebuild the airport,” said Overdevest.


  15. #315
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,214

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Wimco, our forum host, has 334 villas in their rental inventory. Of course, many/most villas overlap with many agencies listing the same rental villas.
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  16. #316
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    Wimco, our forum host, has 334 villas in their rental inventory. Of course, many/most villas overlap with many agencies listing the same rental villas.
    They have more than the association of real estate agents,all together ))) that's strange .
    Those 334 are "tourists ready",in theory...The "still damaged" villas are not listed.The number was slightly over 400 for NY 2017
    Airbnb now lists over 300.Popular VRBO also lists over 300.

  17. #317
    alachick is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Dec 2012 montgomery al. Posts: 158

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    OK , lets look at that logically. A hurricane comes through with winds of 300 km/hr. The only thing left in the French/Dutch caribbean will be the roof on the sxm airport. Personally I think that Lil'Rock beach bar is the new future. Affordable insurance cost.(0). If it's blown away, no or little cost to rebuild. Hotels will follow the same mind set. Everyone wanting the Saint Barts of the 40's and 50's will get their wish.

  18. #318
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,214

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris83 View Post
    They have more than the association of real estate agents,all together ))) that's strange .
    Those 334 are "tourists ready",in theory...The "still damaged" villas are not listed.The number was slightly over 400 for NY 2017
    Airbnb now lists over 300.Popular VRBO also lists over 300.
    I asked Nils to weigh in, to put the question to rest. It is what it is, but I am just curious to know, and there do seem to be conflicting statements. Unless the difference is, as you suggest, the rental-ready, post-Irma numbers vs the total including those under repair.
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  19. #319
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    I asked Nils to weigh in, to put the question to rest. It is what it is, but I am just curious to know, and there do seem to be conflicting statements. Unless the difference is, as you suggest, the rental-ready, post-Irma numbers vs the total including those under repair.
    Sure..let's see what he says.

    The point is/was:there are enough villas on the island to have a near normal tourist season and welcome tens of thousands of visitors,including the most important ones :the high end clientele.
    I do somewhat agree with Alachick's post in a way.Eden Roc pop up restaurant on the beach is the perfect example of what can be achieved in a short amount of time.And in any case,going forward,the design will need to be modified (florida keys...nothing on the ground level so the water can move in and out ? )
    The problem is to find available spots on the beach to make them happen.
    Once again,the problem is and will be the lack of beach restaurants/bars/clubs for the 2019 season.
    Mr Dufau declared the villas had 2,200 bedrooms (and let's add the flats to rent)...It is impossible to have thousands of high end clients on the island and have only 5 spots open (NB,Lil Rock,Shellona,la plage,Christopher and eventually Toiny (too far in my opinion,but let's count them in) ..compared to 12 the previous year.
    The problem is not the furniture (it can be moved/stored away) but the professional kitchen and how to design it "watertight "
    One of Irma's lessons (in my opinion) is that you can't afford to lose your beach spots in case of a major hurricane...You then get the hurricane pain,followed by massive financial pain.A double whammy that can be avoided,by careful planning (The Tokyo lesson)
    The island can't afford to (and doesn't have to) lose 1 or 2 years of touristic season after each major hurricane .

    It is also clear that the new paradigm will deeply impact the beaches in the future.Another serious debate for the future of the island.

  20. #320
    alachick is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Dec 2012 montgomery al. Posts: 158

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Mobile kitchen. Put on trailer and move away from the beach.

  21. #321
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by alachick View Post
    Mobile kitchen. Put on trailer and move away from the beach.
    Or this
    http://nordic.businessinsider.com/fl...solar-2017-11/

  22. #322
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    According to the journal de St Barth,Irma damaged the collectivity properties for an amount of 7.6m euros..partly insured (but not the roads,for example)

    Hip hip hurrah for Roman Abramovich,again,paying for the stadium renovation :889.000 euros .
    Roman,a true true friend of SBH

  23. #323
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau reported 1,220 of the 4,162 hotel rooms that were available on the Dutch side of the island before Irma were available as of Jan. 18.

  24. #324
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    More on St Marteen

    https://www.thedailyherald.sx/island...nal-after-irma

    (50% occupancy in february..with police,insurers,contractors,and airline staff...Tough tourist season in St Martin obviously)

  25. #325
    chris83 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2017 Posts: 721

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Another very interesting article about the SXM Juliana airport ..mentioning the cost for renovating it .A cool 100 million dollars.
    And mentioning passenger numbers also:down 70%

    http://smn-news.com/letters/28436-it...st-martin.html

  26. #326
    zin is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jun 2005 NC Posts: 206

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    This thread does not make me want to come back just yet. Been coming every year for 15 years or more.

  27. #327
    elgreaux is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Saint Barth Posts: 10,215

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by zin View Post
    This thread does not make me want to come back just yet. Been coming every year for 15 years or more.
    There is no reason not to come back, I think everyone who came this year had a good time, maybe different than in the past, but the island is in great shape for you to visit...

  28. #328
    zin is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jun 2005 NC Posts: 206

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by elgreaux View Post
    There is no reason not to come back, I think everyone who came this year had a good time, maybe different than in the past, but the island is in great shape for you to visit...
    That is good to know. I just keep hearing that there are only a few restaurants open. Food selections limited at Marche. Piles of debris everywhere. Airport in SXM a mess. Direct flights to SXM being cancelled. Is it all being blown out of proportion? I don't mind a little inconvenience but......

  29. #329
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,594

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Quote Originally Posted by zin View Post
    That is good to know. I just keep hearing that there are only a few restaurants open. Food selections limited at Marche. Piles of debris everywhere. Airport in SXM a mess. Direct flights to SXM being cancelled. Is it all being blown out of proportion? I don't mind a little inconvenience but......
    There are plenty of restaurants open. Last week we did a whole thread on all the restaurants that are open. Marché U is fully stocked. Oasis has no refrigerated food but st the AMC stores are stocked too. Enough with this cockamamie thread. Go to the other threads.


    Andy

  30. #330
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,302

    Re: What about some optimism and hope ?

    Zin, all roads are open. The piles of debris are in designated collection spots. Most restaurants are open...though I am having MAYA’S withdrawal. The hotels are not open nor are their restaurants. The stores are open and the merchants and hosts are so welcoming. So, come on down!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

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