Team St. Maarten/St. Martin at SeatradeCruise Global.
PORT–The Port of St. Maarten reported on Tuesday that hard work and dedication from partners in the hospitality industry in St. Maarten have resulted in a welcome increase in positive reviews from cruise passengers, as the figures now show the destination scored 9.3 out of ten for cruise passenger destination experience.
The St. Maarten delegation received the good news during the 2019 SeatradeCruise Global Conference held in Miami recently. The delegation was headed by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Stuart Johnson and included a number of local stakeholders as part of “Team St. Maarten” such as the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The news is especially pleasing to Port St. Maarten. During the Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council (PAMAC) Cruise Summit meetings in January this year, industry partners shared information that showed the cruise passenger experience for St. Maarten was at a score of 9.1.
A release issued by Port St. Maarten stated, “Port St. Maarten’s management is very pleased that the destination remains in high demand and continues to grow in a positive manner where cruise-passenger destination customer experience is concerned.”
Johnson said TEATT in collaboration with industry partners such as Port St. Maarten helps to create new programmes to drive sales, improve the visitor experience and increase return visits to the destination as a priority.
“My ministry will be working closely with Port St. Maarten management to address the areas that need improvement. Everyone is in agreement that to remain at the top and continue to receive positive reviews from our cruise customers, we have to make every effort to address challenges wherever they may surface, and we are committed to doing just that,” Johnson said.
As a prime destination, every effort must continue to be made where it concerns developing and enhancing current and new attractions. Additional “things to do” on the island are needed, which would enable the destination to increase the number of visitor arrivals.
Port St. Maarten management said all stakeholders must continue to improve services and shore excursions, as well as the quality of their products, to maintain a high score that would lead to destination growth over the long term.
It added that cruise passengers are happy with the product, experience and expressed warmth of the people of St. Maarten, and that continued attention and focus is needed on product diversification.
“We will continue to work with the Ministry of TEATT and its Tourism Department on those areas that need improvement,” the Port St. Maarten release stated.
“The shopping experience in Philipsburg, considered the duty-free shopping capital of the Caribbean, has increased based on information received from our cruise partners who handle onboard sales. They will be trying new techniques to drive passengers to Front and Back Streets. The Port will continue to work diligently with cruise partners and stakeholders on how to further entice more people to shop in Philipsburg.
“Meetings also took place with cruise executives regarding ongoing port improvements to increase demand. An update was provided, and a follow-up meeting is planned shortly with the cruise lines. Overall, SeatradeCruise Global was a success.”
This year’s SeatradeCruise Global Conference concentrated on the “State of the Global Cruise Industry.” Presenters for the conference included executives and visionaries from the world’s top cruise lines such as Adam Goldstein, Vice Chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Cruise Lines International Association; Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Also presenting at the conference were Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; Arnold Donald, President and CEO Carnival Corporation; Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO Royal Caribbean Cruises; and Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman MSC Cruises.
Themes that were shared by cruise industry titans via a panel discussion were: Sustainable Tourism – the latest challenges in popular markets; how cruise lines are collaborating with local communities and destinations to identify solutions; Innovation – defining what innovation means to their brand and customer; Converting New Cruisers – what it will take to attract the next generation of cruisers, including millennials; Environmental Initiatives – identifying the latest developments and success stories to continue environmental advancements; and Emerging Markets – the future outlook on China, what it will take to succeed in emerging markets.
The conference included 50 hours of business sessions and 95-plus hours of networking that highlighted regional updates, travel trends, customer experience, key trends, port and destination ideas and itinerary planning.
Other areas that were covered over the four-day conference and expo were tech, design, entertainment, cuisine and wellness, marine safety, security, sustainability, environmental considerations and regulations, and cybersecurity.
SeatradeCruise Global attracted approximately 11,000 attendees representing 130-plus countries; 70-plus cruise line brands and more than 700 exhibitors.
SeatradeCruise Global was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center April 8-11.