SINT MAARTEN, PHILIPSBURG – The Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) says that the number of stay-over visitors to the destination is on the increase and this is a sign that recovery of the tourism sector is underway.
In the months of November, December, and January the destination welcomed 32,669 stay over arrivals. December being the month that recorded the highest number of stay-over arrivals, welcoming 13,488 visitors in total.
The breakdown of the arrivals of November, December, and January showcases that 55% of all arrivals were from the US, and 23% from France.
March 2021 marks one-year since the country closed its borders due to the COVID-19 outbreak which later became a global pandemic.
“The restart of tourism started back in the summer of 2020 when we re-opened the Princess Juliana International Airport to visitors based on COVID-19 public health and safety protocols. Our airline partners have been slowly increasing the number of flights to the destination.
“Tourism is the economic sector that has been hardest hit by COVID-19 around the globe including here. 2020 was the worst year in tourism history where there were one billion fewer international arrivals.
“We must be thankful for what has been achieved so far to date based on the on-going pandemic and what is currently happening in our main travel markets. Based on our managed re-opening, our recovery is slowly making progress even though travel restrictions remain in place in many countries.
“Sint Maarten is resilient, and we will continue to do what is necessary to maintain the growth in collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders as we continue to be able to compete with the business regionally and globally and emerge stronger from this,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Ludmila de Weever said on Monday.
Director of the STB May-Ling Chun, said the past year has been like no other. “The destination was well on its way to recovery after the hurricanes of September 2017. A lot of progress was made in 2018 and 2019, until the pandemic brought global tourism to a standstill which also included Sint Maarten from March 2020 to July 2020, a five-month period.
“The pandemic is now in its second year, but there is much hope with respect to the roll out of vaccines around the world including Sint Maarten. Every destination around the world is facing the same challenges, but we are all working diligently towards recovery,” Chun said on Monday.