PORT ST. MAARTEN – A delegation from Port St. Maarten along with other critical stakeholders led by the Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher currently at the Caribbean’s largest Cruise Conference and Trade Show, the 24th Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), which is taking place from October 23 to 27, has learnt from the conference so far, due to the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria last month, there are many opportunities for Caribbean destinations that will derive from the chaos created by both major storms.
Destination St. Maarten will use the opportunities to further reinvent itself that would lead the island catering to repeat passengers who will get the opportunity to ‘rediscover’ the destination. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, said more than 25 million travelers are expected to take a cruise vacation this year.
Cruise line executives informed delegates that they were impressed with the fast turn-around of Caribbean destinations damaged by the two major hurricanes. The two main cruise lines, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean International, stated to delegates at the round-table session, that they are committed to returning their vessels to those destinations, and that this will be done in close collaboration with port authorities and the respective ministries of tourism.
“The Caribbean cruise industry and in particular St. Maarten, is destined for a strong rebound along with the assistance of the cruise industry as a marquee destination.
“We have been having and continue to have key discussions with cruise line executives to assure the expectations from passengers are met with higher than perceived experiences. The destination offers a unique experience and must collectively push towards the reopening of St. Maarten. The continued resilience of our people echoed strong during the opening ceremony with confidence that the Island will be developed better than ever,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Tuesday.
Port St. Maarten collaborated with stakeholders such as the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB), the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Rain Forest Adventures to promote the destination at the FCCA Conference & Trade Show.
The 24th Annual FCCA Conference and Trade Show is an opportunity to profile the destination post-Hurricane Irma to approximately 1,000 cruise tourism stakeholders and 100 senior cruise executives about where the destination is at that point in time, seven weeks after the passing of one of the most destructive hurricanes in the Caribbean.
The FCCA Conference is a four-day event designed to foster a better understanding of the inner workings of the cruise industry and help attendees improve their cruise tourism business during a series of meetings, workshops and networking functions aimed at developing understanding, relationships and business.
Through a specialized forum that blends meetings and workshops with social functions, attendees have a unique opportunity to develop relationships with, promote products to, and learn from approximately 100 executives from FCCA’s 19 Member Lines who decide where ships call, what is sold and used onboard, and how to invest in destinations and infrastructure.
Created in 1972, the FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization that provides a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and builds bilateral relationships with destinations’ private and public sectors. By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.
The conference and trade show will take place at the Yucatan Siglo XXI Convention Center, Calle 60, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.