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 in improving the tourist-sector business environment and infrastructure and are on track to restore the island to its pre-hurricane condition in the two-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 on foreign ownership of property. Despite the island’s infrastructure being decimated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, when approximately 90% of its buildings were damaged or destroyed, reconstruction efforts have succeeded and the restored infrastructure is driving a recovery in tourism, 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. Unions are not militant and incidents of industrial action tend to be quickly resolved and do not pose property damage risks.