It’s been five years since St. Maarten hit the 2 million passenger mark. While arrivals are expected to miss that mark in the 2019-2020 season – with 1.6 million passengers expected – the island is concentrating on internal improvements.
“As a mature cruise destination with a high passenger repeat rate, we cannot have a stale product. Our tag line in that sense is to urge persons to come and Rediscover St. Maarten while we reinvent our cruise product through a multifaceted approach in tandem with the tourism authority,” said Alexander Gumbs, business development and marketing manager at Port St. Maarten.
The big story last year was recovery from Hurricane Irma. Now, it’s taking things a step further. “Post Irma, the destination has seen many tour operators and attraction owners reinvest in their products,” Gumbs said.
There are new rainforest adventure tours with zip-lines, new beach experiences, new restaurants and shopping experiences in Philipsburg.
The Symphony of the Seas made her inaugural call to the island in November. To keep up with demand for the Eastern Caribbean, new berths or berth expansion might be imminent, he said.
The island’s homeporting terminal was rebuilt after Hurricane Irma. It caters to small and midsize luxury vessels.
“The port team is working on enhancing the experience through the introduction of mood boards sharing history and information. The central park zone will be developed, giving passengers an area to relax and enjoy the pristine views of the island,” Gumbs said. “The destination is working towards nightlife attractions to cater to late night and or overnighting vessels in upcoming seasons.”