PUERTO RICO – Destination Sint Maarten is being represented at the Caribbean’s largest and most important marketing event this week in San Juan, Puerto Rico, namely the Caribbean Travel Marketplace.
Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Cornelius de Weever on Wednesday said, the Caribbean Travel Marketplace affords tourism suppliers the opportunity to meet face-to-face with wholesalers from around the world selling Caribbean vacation travel.
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is holding its Caribbean Travel Marketplace at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan from January 30 to February 1.
Minister De Weever on Wednesday morning briefed the regional/international travel media about the status of the destination. He started off his presentation by describing the destination as Magical, Sensational, Captivating and Amazing.
Minister De Weever told the media that, ‘We are open for business!’ He went on to give a detail update that the country is steadily recovering and rebuilding, and showing viable and visible signs of progress.
He added that the country is serene and safe, the road network is clean of any debris; Bars and restaurants are open; Beach access is free and clean; the country’s cruise sector is a step ahead with the main cruise lines having returned to the destination, adding that it’s not too late for those who would like to book a cruise.
Minister De Weever also pointed out the importance of the Mega Yacht sector and the vessels have also returned to the destination; marine service sector businesses are open to cater to the needs of the rich and famous.
Visitors can also experience watching planes land at SXM Airport down at Maho Beach; the destination is receiving daily flights out of Miami and New York, and there will be a phased reopening of the terminal building in the second half of 2018.
The Minister also provided an update about electricity, water, and telecommunications; a number of boutique hotels and guesthouses are open; several of the larger hotel properties are scheduled to be open throughout the latter half of 2018; the Caribbean’s #1 shopping area, Philipsburg is 95 per cent open; and one of the destinations newest attractions is Rockland Estate Zipline which is open to visitors.
Minister Cornelius de Weever also updated the international media bout the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta which is scheduled for the beginning of March and the country’s main cultural event Carnival where preparations are in full swing for several weeks of jamming, partying and parading during the month of April.
The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs also spoke about the resiliency of the people, their persistence, and being a beacon of hope during the recovery and rebuilding of the country, and that they are upbeat and serving visitors every day as they arrive to enjoy their Sint Maarten holiday on the ‘Friendly Island’.
The CHTA Marketplace brings together hotel and destination representatives, online travel agents, tour operators, meetings incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) planners, and members of the media.
Close to 500 supplier delegates from more than 200 companies across 30 countries have joined another 100-plus media representatives at this year’s event, according to CHTA.
More than 200 delegates from close to 100 buyer companies, 19 of which are new to the conference, including four new MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) companies, have registered.
Buyer companies hail from Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace, produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Meet Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, is hosted by Interval International, JetBlue Vacations and Mastercard.
Platinum Sponsors include ADARA, AMResorts, Cable & Wireless, CaribbeanWE, Condé Nast Traveler, Expedia, Figment Design, Hotels.com, Marketplace Excellence, OBMI, Orbitz, Sojern, STR, Travelocity and Travelzoo.
American Airlines, ARDA-ROC, Best Western, Brides, Delta Air Lines, Destination Travel Network, Duetto, Northstar Meetings Group, Lexicon Travel Technologies, Martha Stewart Weddings, Prevue Meetings, Rainmaker, Recommend Magazine, Simpleview, Symova, The New York Times, Time Inc., TravelClick and Travel Channel have joined the event as gold sponsors.
Besides the Minister, representatives from the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau are also in attendance.