Published On: Fri, Sep 29th, 2017

Port expects first cruise ship on St. Maarten Day

GREAT BAY – Port St. Maarten Management understands the importance of the cruise sector to the national economy, and is working diligently with the cruise lines and local stakeholders to have the first commercial cruise ship with passengers in port by November 11 – St. Maarten Day.  Discussions are currently underway with a number of cruise lines with respect to itinerary planning for November.

In order for this to happen, a number of links in the chain of offering a good cruise experience needs to be in place such as shore-excursions, tours, shopping (Philipsburg), restaurants and other amenities.

Port Management met with the Council of Ministers on Wednesday where an update was provided about the state of affairs at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities. Government offered assistance from the various ministries to assure that the country can deliver the best possible experience to cruise passengers when they return to the destination.

“Bouncing back from Irma should be the country’s number one priority.  Banks and insurance companies are well aware of the importance of making available rebuilding loans and monies that would facilitate a quick economic jolt into the nation’s economic engine,” the port said in a press statement.

With the frequent rainfall to date, nature is already taking care of itself from brown hillsides starting to slowly turn green again along with sea, sun and sand.  Tourism and hospitality businesses are next in line to get the ball rolling on their end to have their businesses up and running and being able to offer services to cruise visitors.

From November 1, the port will have two cruise berths available.

Wednesday, 27th September marked World Tourism Day (WTD) under the theme, “Sustainable Tourism a Tool for Development”.  On this occasion, Port St. Maarten’s Supervisory Board, Management and Staff, in the post Hurricane Irma era, encourages the entire Sint Maarten/St. Martin communities, to remain strong as we build the island bigger and better.

“Cruise passengers will bring in much needed foreign exchange that will circulate throughout the economy via the business community. This will also be very important for the rebuilding of the country and the economy,” the port stated.

Port St. Maarten is appealing and encouraging the business community to start looking at having their businesses operational and ready for November 11.  This will also mean that the necessary utilities must be in place and at a stable level as soon as possible which would facilitate the rebuilding process of tourism and hospitality related businesses.

The clean-up of certain tourism corridors will be necessary in order to showcase the destination as best as possible. Everybody has heard about the devastation that was caused by Hurricane Irma Cat 5+, and the damage left behind as seen in pictures and footage via television and social media.

“Sint Maarten is in the process of rebuilding and making itself bigger and better, and this is also something to showcase to the world, despite what we have experienced, we are a resilient people who have been through a catastrophic experience, but at the same time, we are rebuilding and want visitors to experience that resilience of the Sint Maarten people in the post-Irma era.”