St. Maarten tourism: the good news and the bad news


According to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), while the island of St. Maarten ranked number one in passenger satisfaction, it fell short in passenger spending. FCCA announced the results in a Passenger and Crew Expenditure Survey during its annual conference in St. Lucia.

St. Maarten is represented by Harbour Affairs Commissioner Theo Heyliger, St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies CEO Mark Mingo, and others. St. Maarten is in second place to St. Thomas for both passenger and crew expenditure. St. Maarten had held steady as the number one and preferred crew spending destination for several years, but missed the mark this time around.

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Crew members spend on average US$149.45 in St. Maarten while they shell out US$152.58 in St. Thomas. The average crew spending in the Caribbean is US$89.24. Crew and passengers are spending less in St. Maarten on items the island considers its trademarks for shoppers: electronics, jewelry, and food.
St. Maarten is so far the only destination tipped to be ready for the new 220,000-ton, mega-cruise ship to be launched in December.

The mega-ship Oasis of the Sea and several other cruise ships are set to add St. Maarten to their itineraries this season. Also, the island expects to play host to a record 1.5 million cruise passengers in 2010-2011 as a direct result of a change in marketing strategy for the Harbour Group. Marketing is focused on emerging trends and more one-on-one meetings with cruise executives and itinerary planners.