POND ISLAND – In collaboration with the French Tourist Office, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB), on May 15 hosted a group of 130 travel agents from South America.
The travel agents are part of an annual mega familiarization trip that the MSC Cruises organizes every year.
This is the first time that St. Maarten is part of their itinerary. There was a total of 350 agents aboard the ship, and 130 signed up for the tour while the others did private tours or went shopping in Philipsburg.
STB said that they were very impressed by the recovery of the destination since the passing of the September hurricane, and feel that the island still has a lot to offer in terms of offering a great vacation destination experience.
STB gave the travel agents an updated fact sheet of hotels, activities and restaurants that are open.
A couple of the travel agents stated that they can’t wait for Copa Airlines to return to St. Maarten, so they could start selling the destination again.
The timing of the fam trip couldn’t be better as Copa airlines will resume flights to St. Maarten on June 2nd.
Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Cornelius de Weever, said on Monday that the fam trip and local coordination between the tourism entities of the North and South sides of the island demonstrates the importance and emphasis being placed on joint promotion of the destination.
“The tourism entities from both sides of the island have been working diligently together based on the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the Governments of North and South. This is the basis for the joint promotional activities of the island.
“The South American fam trip of travel agents is very important for the destination especially since it came at a time when Copa Airlines will resume providing service to and from the Central/South American mainland.
“This will be a significant development, because we also have a number of hotel properties that will be coming back online within the next six-months. These are positive things that are happening, and the future looks brighter each day and month as our island destination continues to rebuild and tourists continue to return for that unique St. Maarten/St. Martin experience that cannot be found anywhere else,” Minister Cornelius de Weever said on Tuesday.