Sint Maarten Country Report
St Maarten is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands that is highly dependent on tourism. The island was devastated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Recovery efforts are succeeding improving tourist-sector business environment and infrastructure but are unlikely to fully recover to its pre-hurricane condition in the one-year outlook. The international airport, most shops, restaurants, bars, casinos, and tourist leisure activities are fully operational with many five-star hotels to resume operations in the one-year outlook.
St Maarten broadly welcomes foreign investment. There are no restrictions to foreign ownership of property. The island's infrastructure was decimated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, when approximately 90% of buildings were damaged or destroyed but reconstruction efforts are on track and driving tourism recovery with airports, most hotels, and restaurants fully operational. Investor confidence is still moderately affected by bureaucracy and rigid regulations in the labour market and the tax system. Corruption and money laundering, mainly related to the island's drugs trade, remain challenges.
There is no history of terrorism in St Maarten. A very low risk exists from the activities of international terrorist groups that may indiscriminately target Western interests. However, there is no known home-grown threat nor any indications that the country constitutes a target for external terrorist groups.
There are no significant external threats or pending border issues to the island. Interstate war risks are accordingly very low. Defence issues are handled by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
St Maarten has traditionally enjoyed low levels of unrest, with few incidents of widespread protests and political demonstrations. Such risks are anticipated to increase during the last few months of 2017 following the destruction of much of the island by Hurricane Irma. The failure of the comparatively new state to respond effectively to the challenge of reconstruction would likely be met by popular protests in the worst affected areas.