PORT ST. MAARTEN – Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Management (Ministry VROMI), SXM Airport, Taxi Association DSTA, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB), and Port St. Maarten, took a bus tour recently around the country along the route that taxis and tour busses will be taking passengers when the first commercial cruise ship calls start early December.
The objective of the bus tour was to see the country through the eyes of the visitor while driving along the designated routes. The tour allowed key stakeholders to evaluate and assess the current state of affairs along the identified tourism corridor and take additional measures where the clean-up of the destination is concerned in preparation for cruise ship destination calls.
An action list has been compiled of things that still need to be done. Cruise lines continue to send to the island assessment teams to review destination recovery efforts in preparation for cruise ship calls, and therefore, it is extremely important for clean-up/beautification efforts to continue full speed ahead.
Part of the assessment action list includes the following: cleaning of beaches with a refined finish; refined finish of temporary garbage depots in Cole Bay and at Kim Sha Beach area; removal of boats/containers on Great Bay Beach; beach promenade street lights to be repaired; clean-up of popular beaches; placement of temporary restrooms at popular beaches.
“There are a number of critical things that still need to be done as the clock ticks down to December cruise ship calls, a less than two weeks away. We cannot wait until the last couple of days before the vessels arrive to randomly remove debris, decorate, prune and polish up.
“We are appealing to the general public to assist with the clean-up around your area. We call on businesses to do the same. During the tour we noticed some debris still in front of some business establishments, and have observed some unsightly areas along the airport strip.
“Clean-up should be done in a timely manner and done correctly thereby ensuring the cruise industry that we are open and ready. This is a crucial period in the cruise sector history of the country, and all hands are needed on deck to make sure we are ready for the first and subsequent cruise ship calls,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday.
Port St. Maarten is working closely with Ministry TEATT, the STB, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry to get the message out to the business community about being ready for the upcoming cruise ship calls.
The bus tour also included Mico Cascais, a 30 year veteran of the Cruise Industry both in Ship Board Management and Corporate Management. Mico is currently the Principal of Mico Cascais, Inc. a company focused on reshaping the story and experiences cruise guests will enjoy when sailing in the Caribbean.
The first cruise passenger experience will be one of discovery for the guests to return on another cruise to the destination in the future, and therefore, it is extremely important that the destination showcases itself in a manner that will shape future calls for the remainder of 2017 and going into 2018 and beyond.