Tourists visiting Saba are sometimes subjected to strict controls. Sabans complain on social media sites that strict controls bring the tourism industry at risk.
Tourists often have to wait a long time during the inspections in the hot sun or rain, because there is little shelter from the port and airport. Sabans find that this harms the image of their friendly island.
Head of the Saba Tourist Bureau, Glenn Holm says that there are many complaints from tourists coming. The complaints are mainly about the long waiting lines at the port.
“As customs it is our policy that we want to interfere as little as possible during the inspections yhe economic traffic during our inspections”, the head of customs Edward Thielman stated. “This means that we strive for the shortest possible delay of goods and people during inspections.”
To get to Saba, visitors must first make a stop on St. Maarten. Tourists on St.Maarten have been checked by customs and Holm finds it unnecessary that on Saba there has to be checked again. “We have never seen a tourist who took illegal items to Saba,” he adds .
“Customs is always present within the Caribbean Netherlands, and every now and then in addition to regular inspections, also more fundamental checks are held as special actions,” explains Thielman . Holm fears however that tourists will move to other islands such as St. Barts and Anguilla. ” If nothing is changed in the situation then tourists will not return.”
Holm says he has talked about placing of a shelter at the harbor several times with the Island Council without success .