TEATT Minister Holds Strategy Meeting to Coordinate FCCA Conference

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Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication, Grisha Heyliger-Marten (R, head of table) listens to participants during the strategy meeting (6/14/24), to plan for the FCCA Conference scheduled to be held in St. Maarten, October 21 – 25.

 

GREAT BAY The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) will be celebrating its 35th anniversary with a conference, hosted by St. Maarten from October 21 to 25, 2024. The conference is expected to attract between 800 and 900 participants. 

Noting that some stakeholders like the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), were unaware of this conference until recently, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication, Grisha Heyliger-Marten held a strategic planning meeting Friday with representatives of Port St. Maarten Group of Companies, PJIA, Immigration Services, and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.

The minister said she was in the process of establishing a Steering Committee to liaise with the FCCA in order to ensure a smooth coordination and execution of conference plans. This committee will oversee all preparatory activities leading up to the event.

The meeting discussed conference logistics, including accommodation, with Maho chosen as the primary conference hotel. Other accommodation options are Morgan Hotel, Simpson Bay, and J.W. Marriott.

Arrival procedures will be streamlined for a smooth processing of visitors who will proceed through a special lane with identifiable tags on their luggage prior to departure. 

Given that many FCCA Executive Board members will be flying in privately, the completion of the renovated FBO building will be essential. However, if this is not ready, there would be a need to set up a temporary location to handle those arriving on private jets.  

Heyliger-Marten further disclosed that the FCCA Coordinating Team is scheduled to arrive on the island on June 24. The Airport Managing Team will provide a comprehensive tour and demonstrate the arrival and departure processes at the airport to ensure seamless coordination.

“The conference is expected to have a significant and positive impact on our economy,” the Minister said. “Taxi drivers, bars, restaurants, stores, and other businesses will benefit greatly from the influx of participants.” 

 Minister Heyliger-Marten emphasized the importance of providing a warm St. Maarten welcome to the visitors. “We have to ensure that the island has a welcoming atmosphere and is clean. I will coordinate with the minister of VROMI in order to achieve this.”

The minister was pleased to learn that the island’s rich cultural heritage will be showcased at the conference, with the yellow sage, the St. Maarten national flower, as theme. 

Minister Heyliger-Marten further encouraged the involvement of students particularly from schools offering hospitality studies, thus giving them the opportunity to gain valuable experience by participating in this significant event.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of team work to ensure the success of this conference,” Heyliger-Marten said. “In fact, it has a double significance since it is being held when our port is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Our goal, therefore, is to exceed the experience our guests had when the FCCA conference was held here ten years ago.”

Follow-up meetings will be scheduled to constantly review progress and address any potential issues, said Minister Heyliger-Marten.