St. Maarten records 131 per cent rise in arrivals in first half of year | THE DAILY HERALD

AIRPORT–St. Maarten has logged a 131 per cent increase in arrivals from January to June 2019 compared to the same period last year, thanks to hotel re-openings in late 2018 and early 2019 as well as major airlines increasing service here.

St. Maarten welcomed 171,543 visitors between January and June, of whom 107,968 were from North America: 92,285 from the USA and 15,683 from Canada. The island welcomed 177,589 visitors between January and December 2018, including 67,533 from the USA and 9,162 from Canada during the same one-year period.

St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) has also reported strong hotel occupancy rates for the first six months of the year with averages of 81.9 per cent for first quarter and 71.4 per cent for second quarter of this year.

Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson is quoted by online publication Travel Daily News as saying: “These numbers highlight how much we have improved since Hurricane Irma and show the resilience of our people. As St. Maarten continues to redevelop sustainably, we are excited that the visitor numbers remain on the increase. We welcome our new and returning visitors as we continue to promote the diversity of our tourism product and the hospitality of our people.”

“We are delighted to see these numbers,” said St. Maarten’s Director of Tourism May-Ling Chun. “Everyone in the industry has been working tirelessly to ensure that our tourism sector recovers strong and to let visitors know that we’re open for business. We’re very pleased to see that our loyal visitors are now returning to the island in greater numbers.”

Almost two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, more than 65 per cent of hotels and timeshare resorts throughout the island have now re-opened.

Major US carriers Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, JetBlue, United Airlines, and Spirit Airlines have all returned with regular service. Regular flights from Toronto and Montréal, Canada, on Air Canada, Sunwing, and Air Transat have also resumed.

Source: The Daily Herald