Published On: Tue, Dec 19th, 2017

Cruise industry takes a hit

PHILIPSBURG – Neighboring islands are benefitting immensely from the way Hurricane Irma brought St. Maarten’s cruise industry to its knees.

Cruise ships that had St. Maarten on their itinerary before the hurricane changed everything are now massively turning to destinations like the French-speaking islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Guadeloupe expects this season 100,000 more cruise visitors than previously expected. In October alone, Guadeloupe received 51 additional cruise ships, bringing the total for the upcoming season to 230.

Martinique is also looking forward to an exceptional tourism season. The island will see the arrival of 200 cruise ships carrying between them 420,000 passengers that otherwise would have spent a day in St. Maarten.

The loss to St. Maarten’s economy is significant and will be felt by cab drivers, pubs and restaurants and – last but not least – the government.

With average spending per cruise passenger estimated by the industry at $191, the lost visitors that will now go to Martinique alone represent an economic value of $80.2 million (a bit more than 143.5 million guilders). This in turn represents a loss in turnover tax for the government of $4,010,000 (close to 7.2  million guilders).