Theme of FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show is Reinventing Cruise St. Maarten

Port St. Maarten – The theme of the 21st Annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference & Trade Show is “Reinventing Cruise St. Maarten.” Port St. Maarten has to look at trends, developments, challenges and opportunities as a port and as a cruise destination in order to move forward.


“After hitting 50-years of cruising in 2014, Port St. Maarten has reached the crossroads in its cruise development and is now considered a mature destination. As a cruise destination we now have to reinvent ourselves.

“If we keep looking in the past, we will not move forward. The competition is fierce in the cruise business. St. Maarten as a cruise destination has to look at where we go from here. We don’t have any time to waste, because our competitors are moving forward.

“We have competitors at our doorstep such as the Federations of St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. They are all working on expanding their cruise facilities and securing millions of dollars to do so, because they also want to be on top.

“At the moment we are focused on coastal blue tourism where the emphasis is on anything and everything related to the sea, sun and sand. All services and products mostly cater to the cruise passenger are primarily beach related.

“We need to transition from this area and add something else as part of reinventing cruise tourism. Blue coastal tourism will always be there. We now need to add urban heritage grey tourism to our tourism mix which looks at cultural/heritage and environmental/green tourism.

“The development of the aforementioned will give an impetus in economic development, environmental conservation, enhancement of heritage and cultural sites which in turn will increase the identity and well-being of our community.

“The formation of the St. Maarten Tourism Authority is also very essential in reinventing our tourism product, and Port St. Maarten has played an important role in getting this moving in collaboration with the Minister of Tourism and other stakeholders.

“The continued innovation and development of shore excursions is necessary to keep the cruise sector alive and vibrant. New excursions means new entrepreneurs are in business which also translates into job creation. We also need additional brand-named hotels as well as cruise conversions. The latter is very important, because when there is a dip in cruise we can offset with stay-over visitors and vice versa.

“The 21st FCCA Cruise Convention & Exhibition being hosted by destination St. Maarten will allow us as a cruise port to bring all stakeholders together at one location. Insight will be provided into current trends and developments in the cruise sector and where things will be in five to 10-years from now.

“St. Maarten’s cruise sector is worth more than US$350 million annually and employs directly and indirectly 1000s of people. This is a sector that we cannot fool around with, and we have to plan in a strategic manner to protect the sector by reinventing cruise St. Maarten in order to maintain the economic input into our economy and protect existing jobs and create more jobs for our people,” CEO Mark Mingo pointed out.