2014 FCCA-conference huge event for St. Maarten: Harbor marks 1.7 million cruise passengers

POSTED: 12/21/12 2:23 PM

St. Maarten – The harbor will welcome its 1.7 millionth cruise passenger on Boxing Day when there are five cruise ships in port, Economic Affairs and Tourism Minister Romeo Pantophlet and Harbor Group of Companies CEO Mark Mingo announced at a press conference yesterday. They also announced that St. Maarten will host the 2014 annual conference of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association FCCA.  This year’s conference in Curacao attracted more than one thousand stakeholders; Pantophlet and Mingo expect the same numbers for the event in 2014, scheduled for September 26 to October 6.

“The last time we had the FCCA-conference in St. Maarten was in 2003,” Mingo said. “This time we were competing with Guatemala for the 2014-edition. We worked really hard to get it here.”

Guatemala will now host the Central America cruise conference from May 29 to 31, 2013.

Mingo said that an FCCA-survey recently showed that cruise passenger spending in St. Maarten is the highest in the whole of the Caribbean. “Everyone is part of this success,” he said, referring to the contribution of all stakeholders in the tourism product called St. Maarten.

The conference is a huge undertaking, Mingo pointed out, saying that the organization expects more than one thousand stakeholders to attend.

“This conference is going to be during the off-season, so it will be a boost for the economy,” Minister Pantophlet said.

Mingo said that he is “excited, but also a bit nervous about the event. “This is a huge conference for St. Maarten.”

Looking forward to the landmark 1.7millionth cruise passenger on Boxing Day, Mingo said that the harbor will do “something special” for the occasion.

Asked about future developments, Mingo expressed some concern. “We are not taking the competition seriously. We need all hands on deck if we want to stay on top. Tortola has just announced that it is enhancing its pier. We are keeping an eye on those developments. The competition is getting fierce and we need to be aware of that.”

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