Local tour operators propose changes for better drop off

Artist’s impressions of the proposed drop off zones.

PORT–In an effort to realise a smooth flow of traffic and to enhance especially cruise passengers’ onshore experience, the United Tour Operators Foundation has forwarded a number of proposed small, but impactful adjustments to Buncamper Road, in the vicinity of the double bridge, to the Ministry of Infrastructure VROMI.  

  The tour operators have recommended the creation of a 30 metres by two metres “lay-by zone” to drop-off cruise ship guest safely and in line-of-sight of town with a 1.2 metre (four feet) sidewalk and protective pole-bars along the Rolandus Kanaal’s edge. The area should be “clearly marked as reserved for drop-off zone for tour buses only.”

   The placement of “a wide informative outdoor board” to welcome cruisers to town with a map of Philipsburg indicating “you are here” are also suggested by the tour operators.

  The drop off zone in front of the gas station at Bobby’s Marina is “an unappealing and a high risk location to drop-off cruise ship guests,” said tour operators in their February letter.

  The lay-by at the Rolandus Kanaal is the only location tour operators consider suitable for drop off, because it would allow them to keep to on-time tour schedules and keep tour routes pre-approved in cruise ship contracts.

  This proposed change will also minimise congestion on Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard as buses would now be turning at Emmaplein Bridge and exit via Vogesstraat.

  The recommendations follow a meeting tour operators had with Port St. Maarten, ministry representatives and other stakeholders.

  This proposed solution gives cruise passengers the option to share Philipsburg’s heritage without negatively impacting the performance of the tour operators’ commitments to the ships, said Gabriel Amado, foundation president.

  Passengers utilizing this option can then walk into downtown as they wish, benefitting all merchants, and it will also increase wealth of the land-taxi and water-taxi sectors by having more cruise ship guests to transport back to ship, Amado said in the letter.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/74189-local-tour-operators-propose-changes-for-better-drop-off