St. Maarten – Today marks Caribbean Tourism Day and also the start of Caribbean Tourism Month. Port St. Maarten’s board of supervisory directors, the management and the staff, wishes everybody working in the hospitality and tourism sector a happy Caribbean Tourism Day and month.
The observance and celebrations carry the recurring theme: “One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.”
“Everybody who comes in contact with a cruise passenger and crew member, and who has left them with a smile, has contributed to our country’s success story as a premier mature cruise destination in the Caribbean,” port CEO Mark Mingo said in a press statement.
“On Caribbean Tourism Day, we can take our hats off and say, job well done. The visitor experience during their stay on the island is one of the most important components to keep our guests coming back. As an individual working in the sector, each one of us must ensure that our visitors leave with a smile to come back.”
“There are more competitors out there going after the same group of visitors. The Caribbean continues to rank as the dominant cruise destination, accounting for more than a third (35.5 percent) of the global deployment capacity market share in 2014. We have to continue to make sure that we remain at the top and continue to do what we do best in the new approaching 2015-2016 high season,”
The country’s cruise sector has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 50-years. Port St Maarten in 2014 celebrated its 50th anniversary as a cruise destination. June 3rd, 1964 marked the inauguration of the A.C. Wathey Pier.
Cruise tourism has grown since those days with a significant leap being made in 1980, 16 years after the A.C. Wathey Pier was brought into use, when the destination received its first 100,000+ cruise passengers (105,000). 16-years later in 1996 that grew to more than half a million, 677,662, and 16-years later in 2012 to 1,753,215.
In 2014, the country’s national port received 2,001.996 cruise passengers for the first time ever. Tourism is one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development. In September, at Seatrade Europe cruise & river convention, Port St. Maarten was ranked number five in the world as a cruise transit port. At the 22nd annual Florida Caribbean cruise association (FCCA) cruise conference and trade show that concluded in Cozumel, Mexico last month, Sint Maarten led all destinations with nearly US$423 million in cruise passenger spending, followed by the Bahamas with US$373 million, Cozumel with US$365 million, the U.S. Virgin Islands with US$344 million, the Cayman Islands with US$208 million, Jamaica with US$199 million, and Puerto Rico with US$198 million. Average per passenger expenditures ranged from a low of $42.58 in Trinidad to a high of $191.26 in St. Maarten and averaged $103.83 per passenger visit across the 35 destinations.