SIMPSON BAY – On Tuesday afternoon, a group of Dutch travel agents and tour operators arrived on the island on their Carnival Fam Trip coordinated by Le Beau Reizen and 721 Hub Marketing.
Sponsors for the trip are Port St. Maarten, SXM Airport, West Dawn Beach Resort, Daytona Tours, Artemia, Maduro Travel, St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation, Layback Bar & Grill, KLM, Saba Tourist Office, and the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Organization. The main sponsors are Port St. Maarten, SXM Airport and KLM.
The group will visit the Festival Village to get a sample experience of what Carnival is all about besides attending other events and the grand parade.
On Wednesday the Dutch travel agents will take an island tour and have lunch at the Lolos in Grand Case. Their visit will be filled with activities during the coming days including viewing J’Ouvert Jump Up and attending other Carnival events at the Festival Village during their stay on the Friendly Island.
The trip also entails a visit to the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius who are also part of the fam trip.
The travel agents will carry out site inspections at several hotel properties allowing the aforementioned to view and inspect the facilities and amenities offered that are visited by tourists on an annual basis.
The Carnival Fam Trip ends on May 3 when the travel agents and tour operators return to the Netherlands.
The idea for the fam trip came out of the Dutch Vakantie Beurs Utrecht in January.
Port St. Maarten in collaboration with SXM Airport and local stakeholders attended the 47th edition of the Dutch Vakantie Beurs Utrecht (Tourism and Leisure Fair), considered the trade show for the Dutch travel industry, back in January, as part of a campaign to promote the destination in Europe.
The Vakantie Beurs takes place every January at the Convention Center in the Dutch city of Utrecht.
Port St. Maarten took the lead several years ago, and once again it did in January 2017 to make sure that the destination had representation at the trade show in the Netherlands in order to promote and drive business to the island from the Dutch and European market.
The objective of the port is to make sure that there is a niche in the Dutch travel market for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta which takes place in March and Carnival in April. Port St. Maarten feels that the Dutch travel sector should not be underestimated and the current fam trip is an investment paying off for the destination. The port and SXM Airport supported each other at the 2017 fair.
Port St. Maarten has committed itself to attend five editions of the trade fair over the next few years. The objective is to connect with luxury cruise lines in order to further expand the cruise sector with passengers who have a higher disposable income and spend more while visiting a destination.
Port St. Maarten is moving full speed ahead in establishing itself as a homeport destination in the north eastern Caribbean catering to small and medium size vessels as well as the high-end market of the luxury cruise sector. The homeporting business will translate into a significant positive impact on the country’s economy with spinoffs to the majority of business sectors including attracting additional airlift which is also part and parcel in developing homeporting.
More Dutch travelers are becoming aware of cruises, and the St. Maarten cruise brand is the largest and most developed cruise port in the Dutch Kingdom.