PORT ST. MAARTEN – On Tuesday morning, a family of five out of Miami, Florida, were selected as the one millionth cruise passenger milestone for 2017, which is also the 16th annual one millionth milestone for the destination.
During the months of June and July, the destination surpasses the one millionth cruise passenger which signifies the growth of the country’s cruise sector over the years.
Family Barril, on their first cruise visit to the destination on-board Harmony of the Seas, were greeted by St. Maarten Carnival Queen Shanice Powell, the Mighty Dow, representatives from the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and Port St. Maarten, as they walked towards the Cruise Terminal Building to enjoy their time on the island.
The Barril family were looking forward to their tour and spending time down at Maho to watch the planes land at one of the world’s top 10 scenic airport landings. The approach of aircraft to the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM Airport) has been described as iconic and for those standing on the beach as breathtaking.
The family received a complimentary one-week stay at Oyster Bay Beach Resort from General Manager Ricardo Perez who was on hand to present the certificate; gift bags from the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau containing promotional and gift items; a gift certificate from Little Switzerland on behalf of Port St. Maarten; and a CD from the Mighty Dow group.
Port St. Maarten has been celebrating the one millionth cruise passenger mark since 2002 when the nation for the first time catered to 1,066.033.
Port St. Maarten has been receiving over 1.5 million cruise passengers since 2010 (1,512,618) and has sustained over 1.5 million over the past six years with the exception of 2014 when the destination catered to 2,000,864 cruise passengers.
Port St. Maarten is diligently working to convert cruise passengers into land-based vacationers. The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) in the past has urged all cruise oriented destinations to consider implementing a cruise conversion program.
Cruise tourism contributions to St. Maarten as a destination is very prominent and represents one third of the country’s gross domestic product.
The country’s cruise industry plays an important role in the economy and makes a considerable contribution. According to the BREA (Business Research & Economic Advisors) Report, which is a survey-based analysis of the impacts of passenger, crew and cruise line spending, that was prepared for the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and Participating Destinations, October 2015 edition, destination Sint Maarten led all destinations with nearly US$423 million in cruise passenger spending for the 2014/15 cruise season, generating an estimated 9,259 jobs paying $189 million in wage income during the 2014/15 cruise year. This placed Sint Maarten with the highest income impact and the second highest employment impact.
Average per passenger expenditures ranged from a low of $42.58 in Trinidad to a high of $191.26 in Sint Maarten. Sint Maarten with $355 million in total passenger expenditures led all destinations and accounted for 14 percent of total passenger spending among the 35 destinations in the FCCA survey.