Nearly 1.7 cruise passengers help set new record for St. Maarten

POSTED: 01/6/12 4:51 PM

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies has revealed that it welcomed a record 1,656,159 cruise passengers spread over 596 ship calls in 2011. This is 344,200 more cruise passengers than the just over 1.5 million passengers that arrived in 2010. December had the most arrivals (239,329) while September had the least arrivals (57,210) because of the continuous stormy weather.
Vice Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, who is shareholder representative for the Harbour Group of Companies, and the company’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo believe the record in 2011 is because of the marketing the country does towards the cruise line executives and itinerary planners. In fact it was a meeting with cruise executives in 2010 that Heyliger announced that the record 1.6 million passengers would arrive in 2011. There’s no resting on this success though.
“St. Maarten continues to be an industry leader and a top three port in the Caribbean. All eyes are on us. We have to strive to do better and be more innovative,” Heyliger said on Thursday.
The minister’s belief in continued improvement is based on the fact that islands near and far continue to work at growing their cruise business. One example of this is Jamaica which is now ranked the second fastest-growing cruise destination in the Caribbean. A Jamaica Gleaner article points out that country’s cruise growth is bettered by only one of 20 regional destinations – St. Maarten.
Mingo is also pressing merchants, tour/activities operators and other businesses, which he considers the cruise partners, to continually find ways to attract and cater to cruise passengers and encourage them to return as stay over visitors.
“We all have a role in marketing our country. We should not wait for the harbour, government or anyone else to do it for us. Let 2012 be about better partnerships for St. Maarten and its economy,” Mingo said.

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