PHILIPSBURG--A family of five out of Miami, Florida, were selected as the millionth cruise passenger milestone for 2017, which is also the sixteenth annual one-million milestone for the destination, at Port St. Maarten on Tuesday morning.
The destination surpasses the one-million cruise passenger mark, which signifies the growth of the country’s cruise sector over the years, during June and July.
The Barril family, on their first cruise visit to the destination on board Harmony of the Seas, were greeted by St. Maarten Carnival Queen Shanice Powell, The Mighty Dow, and representatives of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and Port St. Maarten, as they walked towards the Cruise Terminal Building to enjoy their time on the island.
The Barrils were looking forward to their tour and spending time at Maho to watch the planes land at one of the world’s top 10 scenic airport landings. The approach of aircraft to Princess Juliana International Airport SXM has been described as iconic and for those standing on the beach as breath-taking.
The family received a complimentary one-week stay at Oyster Bay Beach Resort from General Manager Ricardo Perez, who was on hand to present the certificate; gift bags from the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau containing promotional and gift items; a gift certificate from Little Switzerland on behalf of Port St. Maarten; and a CD from the Mighty Dow group.
Port St. Maarten has been celebrating the one-millionth-cruise-passenger mark since 2002 when the destination for the first time catered to 1,066.033. Port St. Maarten has been receiving more than 1.5 million cruise passengers each year since 2010 (1,512,618), with the exception of 2014 when the destination catered to 2,000,864 cruise passengers.
Port St. Maarten is diligently working to convert cruise passengers into land-based vacationers. The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) in the past has urged all cruise-oriented destinations to consider implementing a cruise conversion programme.
Cruise tourism contributions to St. Maarten as a destination are very prominent and represent one-third of the country’s gross domestic product. The country’s cruise industry plays an important role in the economy and makes a considerable contribution.
According to the Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) October 2015 edition report, a survey-based analysis of the impacts of passenger, crew and cruise-line spending prepared for the FCCA and participating destinations, destination St. Maarten led all destinations with nearly US $423 million in cruise passenger spending for the 2014-2015 cruise season, generating an estimated 9,259 jobs paying $189 million in wage income during the 2014-2015 cruise year.
This placed St. Maarten with the highest income impact and the second highest employment impact. Average per passenger expenditures ranged from a low of $42.58 in Trinidad to a high of $191.26 in St. Maarten. The island with $355 million in total passenger expenditures led all destinations and accounted for 14 per cent of total passenger spending among the 35 destinations in the FCCA survey.