Star Clipper to begin St.Maarten Home Porting in December

The island of St. Maarten will begin serving as home port for the cruise vessel Star Clipper, as of December 20. 

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That is according to tourism commissioner Frans Richardson, who has been attending the 2010 ITB Berlin trade show in Germany.

In making the announcement on Friday, Commissioner Richardson said that he is very encouraged by the news and that he wholeheartedly welcomes the decision taken by Star Clipper.

"This choice offers our island an opportunity to welcome additional numbers of visitors to our shores while complimenting other tourism efforts which are already underway", he said.

Commissioner Richardson said that the decision is "is certainly gratifying and represents a commitment by both parties".

The tourism commissioner said that this is certainly good news where it concerns prospective visitors from Germany and other parts of Europe. He said that he looked forward to the Star Clipper service having a spin-off effect for the U.S. market as well.

"I have no doubt that all stakeholders will work together, hand in hand, to make the Star Clipper venture a success for St. Maarten", said commissioner Richardson.

He said that St. Maarten would continue with endeavors to "retain St. Maarten as a competitive cruise ship destination and a convenient base for home porting, given its strategic location."

The idea is that the Star Clipper will leave from Phillipsburg and sail to Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, B.V.I., Norman Island, B.V.I., Jost van Dyke, B.V.I., St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Barths, before returning here.

The Star Clipper is described as a "modern cruise ship in every way, created for comfort-loving passengers who also love the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships".

The vessel is some 360 feet long and carries 170 guests.

Commissioner Richardson remarked that St. Maarten’s participation at the 2010 ITB Berlin event is significant considering that it provides an excellent opportunity to meet business partners and to do business.

ITB Berlin is not only the leading travel industry show in Germany but it is also the perfect place to learn about new trends, concepts and cooperation possibilities – and to deepen existing business relations, he said.

According to Commissioner Richardson, "this is where you meet hotel managers, tour operators, travel agency owners, travel agents, journalists and operators of cruise vessels such as the Star Clipper".

With more than 180,000 visitors, among these 108,000 trade visitors, and over 10,000 exhibitors, ITB Berlin is the leading B2B-Platform of all tourism industry offers.

St. Maarten has been among a total of over 11 thousand exhibitors at ITB Berlin.

Represented at ITB Berlin are some 187 countries.