Port St. Maarten hits 1 millionth cruise passenger mid-May 2014

Port St. Maarten surpassed the one millionth cruise passenger in mid-May, one month ahead. Annually Port St. Maarten has been hitting the one millionth cruise passenger mark around mid-June.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo said on Sunday that he is very pleased with this news, and it further signifies that the country continues to grow in the cruise area.
“This is a significant sign that our cruise sector is strong and continues to grow. This goes back to the relationships and strategic partnerships that have been developed over the years with the cruise lines.
“Our growth is also embedded in the hospitality of our people and service providers who deal with our cruise passengers on a daily basis, from the taxi driver, to the water taxis, from the tour busses to the car/bike rentals.
“Everybody who comes in contact with a cruise passenger and crew, and who has left them with a smile, have contributed to our country’s success story as a premiere cruise destination in the Caribbean,” CEO Mingo said on Sunday.
The countries cruise sector has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 50-years. Port St Maarten will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014 since the cruise pier opened. On June 3rd, 1964 the A.C. Wathey Pier was inaugurated, and marks the 50th year of catering to the marine sector in different facets which includes the Japanese fishing fleet.
Cruise tourism has grown since those days with a significant leap being made in 1980, 16 years after the AC Wathey Pier was brought into use, when the destination received its first 100,000+ cruise passenger (105,000). 16-years later in 1996 that grew to more than half a million, 677,662, and 16-years later in 2012 to 1,753,215. Port St. Maarten ranks number four in the Caribbean region.
Port St Maarten CEO Mingo says the former is a significant economic contributor to the Gross National Product (GDP) of the country.
The Port St. Maarten was second in the top five destinations with US$356.2 million in expenditures by passengers and crew; according to the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) September 2012 study. The top five destinations have US$1.43 billion in direct expenditures, accounting for 72 per cent of the total cruise tourism expenditures among the 21 destinations.
“The cruise sector is a key strategic economic pillar of the country’s economy, generating a total of 8,123 jobs with a wage income of US$160 million.
Port St Maarten and the destination as a whole will be hosting the 21st Annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Conference & Trade Show from October 6 to 10. Approximately 1,000 cruise industry partners, including close to 100 cruise executives, will be visiting the destination during that one week period.
For cruise executives, ports and destinations, cruise and tourism agencies, attractions, ship agents, suppliers and tour operators, the annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year to meet key industry players, analyse trends and discuss current issues.
The official hotel for FCCA event is the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa.