Saba will be represented at the annual “Boot” Boat show, the top international show for recreational diving which will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, from January 18 to January 26. The Saba Divers and Scout’s Place hotel managers will be present at the show with a stand to showcase Saba among the finest diving holiday destinations. The show attracted 1,650 exhibitors from over 60 counties this year, and was spread across 17 exhibition halls.
This is the 14th time managers Barbara and Wolfgang Tooten will attend the prestigious European show, which annually attracts dive and water sports enthusiasts. Barbara explains that they will be promoting not just Scout’s Place but the whole touristic offer of the island, Saba’s natural treasures and eco-friendly, niche-tourism services. This year, Barbara is excited to meet with 25 couples at the fair, a loyal Sabaaficionado group which is excited to hear the latest developments on and offers from the “unspoiled queen of the Caribbean.” The Tootens are working closely with a trusted German tour operator, Nautilus Tauchreisen, the oldest dive tour operator in Europe, which started in the Caribbean and later spread worldwide.
Wolfgang has nothing but superlative words of praise for the new Saba tourism committee made up of the Commissioner of Tourism Chris Johnson, Director of Tourism Glenn Holm and several representatives of the private hospitality and dive business sector. He is a member of this committee which, he says, has developed a joint advertising strategy expected to increase the island’s visibility on the international tourism market. The committee allocated a total of some US $100,000 for tourism promotion, said Wolfgang. They spent some US $85,000 targeting the United States and Canadian tourist market. Wolfgang is elated with the committee’s decision to allocate US $15,000 for advertising on one of the biggest European online portals for divers in Europe www.toucher.net.
He says Saba was previously underrepresented in the European market and this German language website promises to deliver a targeted full year’s coverage for the island’s niche tourism product. The portal, which manages a magazine, had sent a journalist to Saba for 12 days in December. The expected outcome is articles in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and in the Der Spiegel, all of which are German language newspapers. “In my personal opinion that was a really good investment for Saba in the European market and I hope that we can repeat that next year as well,” said Wolfgang.
Scout’s Place will be showing off another achievement at the European show. It has just hired a new Dutch chef, 28-year-old Silvano Bos who recently arrived on Saba. Bos worked in a famous Scheveningen harbour seafood restaurant called Lemongrass, and hopes to mix his fresh fish culinary skills with the traditional Mediterranean cuisine recipes he inherited from his Italian father. The Scout’s Place managers vouch for his impressive abilities after tasting his red snapper in sweet pepper sauce. The new chef is interested in meeting many of the local fishermen and local produce vendors and hopes to diversify the signature Saba lobster dishes with other fresh seafood delights.