The representatives of Belair beach hotel- Toppers rhum

The Many Faces of SXM

Photos: General Manager Edna Evans of Belair Beach Hotel and Melanie Daboul of Topper’s Rhum and Distillery.




A cultural mosaic in the Caribbean, St. Maarten/St. Martin proudly showcases its diversity.


There’s a saying about St. Maarten/St. Martin: You immediately fall in love with the island, or you don’t. There is no in-between. This is true for many islanders who hail from other, sometimes far-flung, parts of the world. These souls fall into the category often called the “born-to-be-here.”



These “born-to-be-heres” join the “born-heres” to make this tiny pearl of an island the melting pot of the Caribbean, oras some call it, a miniature United Nations. Explorations of pre-Columbian times, the expansion of empires, and the terrors they wrought have contributed to the first waves of people on the island. This was followed by the demands of commerce and the growth of the tourism and hospitality sectors.



Looking around the island, you can see various faces representing the growth of the island and its allure to the broader world. There are more than 114 nationalities registered on the Dutch side of the island alone. These nationalities even tell the story of world changes, as some people were born in places where once-mighty empires thrived.



Today, this melting pot is also evident in the numerous languages you can encounter during a simple stroll down the island’s main streets, whether on the Dutch or French side. The official languages are English, Dutch, and French; but you’ll also encounter Kreyol (the language of Haiti), Spanish, Sindhi, Arabic, Afrikaans, Mandarin, German, and so much more.



The tourism and hospitality sectors are a perfect microcosm of this diversity. The membership of the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) is reflective of the blend of the “born-heres” and the “born-to-be-heres.”



The moniker “The Friendly Island” is strengthened by the mix of people from all corners of the globe sharing the best of the world with a distinct island flavor!





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