New Trends in Tourism: ‘AirCruises,’ and ‘Sustainable Travellers’

There have been some new trends of late where tourism is concerned. ‘AirCruise’ is the latest travel buzz to take off in the Caribbean. Mauiva AirCruise, an American travel company is promoting an island-hopping air tour.

The company organized for 20 tourists an ‘AirCruise’ out of the US a week-long holiday package with stops in the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The concept is about making multi-destination travel simple.

Mauiva AirCruise hopes to establish a regular route in the Caribbean region. The aforementioned travel company says there is potential for flights to leave every other day from Florida for a Caribbean trip.

AirCruise is seen as a market with growth potential in the Caribbean, and the Cayman Islands due to its proximity to the US is seen as a strong destination for this type of tourism.

Perhaps this is something for local travel/tour operators to look into and consider. The potential should be fully explored; perhaps AirCruises out of Puerto Rico or Panama could be looked into by the local travel sector.

This could also be a new business venture for country Sint Maarten young graduates and budding entrepreneurs.

On another note, the 14th Annual Sustainable Tourism Conference will kick-off in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago from 15 to 18 April. It will bring together tourism experts and representatives from the sector to look at the issue of creating and managing sustainable tourism destinations.

The development and achievement of sustainable destinations is the key word. There is a growing segment of the market known as ‘responsible’ or ‘sustainable travellers.’

These types of tourists often spend a lot more in the destination and they get to a level where they get involved in the community, and really want to experience a destination. Last month Minister of Culture Hon. Silveria Jacobs launched the Decade of Revitalization of our Cultural Heritage. The cultural awakening of the St. Maarten Culture is very important to the nation building process and sustainable development, especially from the perspective of tourism and making our visitors aware of the unique and powerful history of our country.

The sustainable traveller wants to experience local cuisine, culture and heritage. According to experts, these tourists don’t want to remain at their hotel properties, but would like to engage with locals and meet people and learn more about the destination, what makes Sint Maarten ‘Sint Maarten.’

They travel on their own and some in groups, and are at the higher end (financially) of the market. They are adventurous, and also want to contribute to the communities that they visit.

Another area that is a trend is sourcing sustainable food for restaurants. A Caribbean Basin strategy is being developed with respect to the region as a food tourism destination; also the development of health and wellness; and special interest tourism.

The aforementioned areas are food for thought and worth exploring by our local tourism industry. Sustainable development is the future and as a young country we need to make sure we are on-board.

Roddy Heyliger