FLORIDA–Port St. Maarten officials, who recently attended Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Florida, said several cruise lines have expressed interest in homeporting and staying in port longer while on St. Maarten.
Seabourn Cruises is expected to homeport here in December while the Pullmantur Group will start in the 2016-2017 cruise season, according to a statement from Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Irania Arrindell.
The Port officials said some investments would be needed in a homeporting cruise terminal to enhance the visitor experience and to retain this type of business long term.
The Seabourn Cruises clientele are high-end and many of them usually arrive at the homeport destination via private jet, said the Minister. “This will mean more business activity for our airport. Prior to boarding the cruise ship, homeport tourists stay in a hotel two days prior to their cruise and two days after they return. This would translate into additional economic activity for various businesses.”
The Pullmantur Group is “another significant boost” for the destination as it will bring more visitors and business to the country, she said. “It also serves part of the diversification of visitors to our island with respect to Latin American and European visitors.”
The homeporting will result in “a significant impact” on the economy with “spinoffs” for transportation services, vessel provisioning, fuelling services, hotels and villa rentals, and air transportation.
Several vessels are already remaining in Port longer allowing their cruise passengers to have dinner and sample the country’s night life.
In the conference, Port St. Maarten was used by various speakers in workshops and presentations as a model cruise port of call, based on its approach to challenges and developments to meet the demands of an ever-changing cruise industry.
Cruise industry stakeholders also dealt with trends and developments in the sector with the State of the Industry address focusing on the “Caribbean and Cuba.” The development of itineraries for Cuba as well as Asia/Australasia, Europe and the Americas were discussed at the conference.
Seatrade Cruise Global Conference is the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry that brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition.
Minister Arrindell was represented by her Chef de Cabinet Alex Dijkhoffz. She was unable to attend due to the budget debate last week. Dijkhoffz was part of the Port St. Maarten delegation
Source: The Daily Herald Port: Several cruise lines interested in homeporting