SXM lags behind in CTO’s 2015 Caribbean performance stats



PHILIPSBURG – The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) recently released key statistics in a document titled: “The State of The Tourism Industry Report 2015”. The document highlights the Caribbean region’s performance over 2015 and what can be expected for 2016. Below an overview of CTO’s document which can be downloaded at the bottom of this article.


In 2015, the Caribbean region performance outpaced global tourism performance with a total of 28.7 million stopover arrivals recorded, which comprises a 7% growth in the Caribbean versus a 4% growth globally.

Double digit growth was recorded in:

  • Haiti – 11%
  • Barbados – 15%
  • Aruba – 15%
  • Cuba – 17.4%

in 2015, the major source markets (countries where visitors are originating from) remain dominated by the US (14.3 million, up 6.3%), Canada (3.4 million, up 4.5%), United Kingdom (1.1 million, up 10.4%). Meanwhile, the Caribbean region contributed with a total of 1.7 million (up 11.4%), Europe with 5.2 million (up 4.2%) and South America with 2.1 million (up 18.3%).

The average Room Occupancy Percentage was calculated at 68.8% (up 1%) while the Average Room Rate went to USD 229.24 (up 4.6%) and the Revenue Per Room was determined at USD 157.74 (up 6%) in 2015.


Caribbean Cruise Activity Performance went from 24.4 million (up 1.3%) estimated in 2015.

Cruise destinations with double digit increased cruise passenger visits in 2015 were:

  • Jamaica – 10%
  • Grenada – 19%
  • Antigua & Barbuda – 22%
  • Martinique – 36%
  • BVI – 43%

Cruise destinations with the most cruise passenger visits:

  • Bahamas – 19% of total
  • Cozumel – 14% of total
  • St. Maarten – 8% of total
  • BVI – 8% of total


Overall, tourist arrivals are projected to increase between 4.5% and 4.5% in the Caribbean in 2016.


While the Caribbean region has performed extremely well compared to the global tourism performance, St. Maarten is lagging behind. This is confirmed by a drop in Cruise Ship arrivals to 1.4 million projected for 2016, while only 2 years ago this number was at 2 million (30% drop!). The drop mostly is contributed to Disney Cruise Line moving their ships (who carry high spending passengers) to BVI, allegedly because of lack of action by previous Governments on a proposal made by Disney Cruise Line to invest on St. Maarten. While accurate stay-over statistics are not available (STAT bureau should have 2015 by now and we hope they will release these to general public soon), hotel room occupancy levels have dropped in most hotels on St. Maarten in the 2015/2016 period.

All in all, St. Maarten needs an all-hands on deck attitude and get the St. Maarten Tourism Authority activated and charged with developing and executing a long term (Master) plan for the island and start Marketing the destination in our key markets while also developing new / emerging ones.

Download the CTO Key Stats document here:

FINAL-CTO-2016-News-Conference-Infographic- (2)



  1. If these stats do not open the closed eyes of our decision makers than I don’t know what will….

    The region has performed great while SXM is in a recession which is also confirmed by the CFT’s report that SXM budget is already under water in the first quarter because of less tax and permit revenues which also is a firm indicator of economic decline.

    As the article states: it’s time for meaningful ACTION!