Saint-Martin is a binational island of a total surface of 87km² located in the northern part of the West Indian arc and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Since 1648 in accordance with the Treaty of Concordia, the island is divided between the French side in the north (56 km²) and the Dutch side in the south (31 km²) by an open and symbolic border. Two uninhabited islets also belongs to the island: Tintamarre with a surface of 1.2 km2 and located at 3km to the north-east and Pinel a very small island of 0.0115 km2 located at 170 m to the east. The chief town of the French side is Marigot, located on the west coast.
Located at about 7000 km from continental Europe, Saint-Martin is one of the closest French region to the American continent and has therefore a geostrategic advantage within its basin. The island also belongs to a geographical area called the “Leeward islands”, which includes Anguilla, the nearest neighboring island, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat and the Virgin Islands.
The latest figures for 2014 estimates the population on the French side at around 35,107. The island is truly a “melting pot” welcoming more than 101 nationalities locally and is marked by strong a multilingualism (English, French and Spanish mostly).
Saint-Martin has a tropical climate with temperatures ranging between 27 ° and 32°. The dry season usually runs from February to April and the rainy season, which corresponds to the hurricane season, runs from June to November. In September 2017, Saint-Martin was severely hit by Hurricane Irma, the most powerful cyclone ever recorded in the Caribbean.
In 2007, following the referendum expressed in favor of article 74 of the French Constitution, Saint-Martin (formerly commune of Guadeloupe) became a Collectivité d’Outre-mer. Therefore, it exercises all the competences of the commune, the department and the region as well as those transferred by the member State.
Moreover, Saint-Martin is also characterized by its institutional singularity on a European scale, with two distinct European statutes: in the Northern side, an Outermost Region (OR) and in the Southern part, an Overseas country and Territory (OCT).
Located at about 7000 km from continental Europe, Saint-Martin is one of the closest French region to the American continent and has therefore a geostrategic advantage within its basin.
The tourism sector is the backbone of the local economy. It includes a variety of services related to the hotel and catering industry, cruise and yachting sectors and other types of tourism activities. On the other hand, agriculture, livestock and fisheries make up a smaller share of the economic sector. They however are destined to be better structured in order to maximize their full potential. As for the entrepreneurial fabric, it is predominantly made up of SME’s.
The tourism sector is the backbone of the local economy. It includes a variety of services related to the hotel and catering industry, cruise and yachting sectors and other types of tourism activities
The natural and geographical assets of Saint-Martin, constitute an important lever in favor of the socio-economic development of the island, allowing also the emergence of new niche areas of activities.