PORT ST. MAARTEN – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2016 ‘The Year of Romance in the Caribbean.’ The theme celebrates everything romantic about the islands in the region.
CTO would like its member countries and hotels to highlight the Caribbean as the leading choice for a romance vacation for consumers and travel planners selling the region.
CTO in cooperation with its private sector partner the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association; assist member countries with an assortment of innovative ideas which can be implemented around the theme of romance to appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators.
Port St. Maarten Management thinks this is a great initiative and supports the efforts of the CTO to promote travel to the region. The CTO is headquartered in Barbados with offices in New York and London. It is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of over 30 countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members.
The primary objective of CTO is to provide and through its members the services and information necessary for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people.
The cruise industry is already busy trying to attract millenninals looking for romance. In 2015 more than 22 million people worldwide took a cruise, and the cruise lines would like to find ways to encourage younger travelers to take a cruise.
The average cruiser is 46 years of age, according to Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) latest industry profile. According to the MMGY Global 2014 Portrait of American Travelers, millennials was the most interested in cruising, with 53 per cent saying they would like to take a cruise within the next two years.
A survey conducted by the online cruising agency Bon Voyage Cruises found that 14 per cent of cruise passengers say they have found love while on a cruise, with 41 per cent saying they are still with the partner and 12 per cent eventually marrying them. Millennial travelers are offering the cruise industry an opportunity.
CLIA reports that nearly 24 million passengers are expected to sail in 2016, a dramatic increase from 15 million just 10-years prior (2006), or even 1.4 million when CLIA began tracking passengers in 1980.
CLIA member cruise lines are scheduled to debut 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2016 for a total investment of more than US$6.5 billion in new ocean vessels alone.
Travel agents are also experiencing a higher demand for cruise travel where eight out of 10 CLIA member travels agents stated they are expecting an increase in sales in 2016 over the last year.
Port St. Maarten accommodated 1,901,617 cruise passengers in 2015 via 683 cruise vessel port calls. Port St. Maarten also came in as the #1 cruise port in the Caribbean, the second year in a row by Cruise Fever.net readers who were asked to vote on the best cruise ports in the Caribbean in the 2015 Cruise Fever Fan Awards.
The cruise industry continue to make cruising the best overall vacation experience available. The industry is continuing to evolve to ensure there truly is a cruise for every travel style and budget even for romance travelers.
Port St. Maarten Management is of the strong opinion that all stakeholders need to work together in 2016 and beyond to further enhance the overall visitor experience on the island whether its cruise or stay-over. This is very important in order for the country to remain at the forefront in the industry as one of the preferred destination to spend a vacation.
Cruising also generates a substantial positive economic impact globally. Cruise industry expenditures according to CLIA generated US$119.9 billion in total output worldwide, supporting 939,232 full-time equivalent employees who earned US$39.3 billion in income in 2014.
The cruise industry continues to be innovative and has developed to date the following 13 trends showcasing how the sector has transformed to meet today’s travelers’ styles and preferences: Rise of the Rover Cruise; More Ships, More Options; On the Map; G’ Day for a Cruise; Cruise Specialists; Connectivity and Cruising; A Love for Lux; Brands at Sea; Ships are the Destination; Stay the Night; Grand (parent) Travel Experiences; Cruise Voluntourism; and Culturally Customized.