Port St. Maarten sees 15 percent growth in cruise passenger numbers so far for 2018

Port St. Maarten Management is very pleased with the recent cruise passenger numbers and has seen a growth of 15 per cent over projections so far for 2018 (January to June).
Management expects a stable off season where cruise calls are concerned and a strong upcoming high season similar to pre-Hurricane Irma numbers in 2017. More than 733,000 (733,666) cruise passengers have visited the island between January and June via 230 cruise ship calls.
The month of March has the highest number of calls 55 and cruise passengers 137,375; followed by April with 39 calls and 128,714 passengers; the months of May (120,907) and June (120,266) saw more than 120,000 cruise passengers for each month calling at the port via 30 and 27 ship calls. For the months of January the figures were 112,511 passengers, 37 ship calls, and February 113,893 cruise passengers via 42 calls to the destination.
“Starting in October, destination St. Maarten will see an increase in the number of European cruise lines that will call at the port. This will further add to current forecast numbers for the high season bringing us to the level of cruise calls and passengers before the hurricanes of September 2017.
“At that point in time cruise sector recovery would have taken a year. We commend the staff of Port St. Maarten for all their hard work, diligence and resilience in helping the port recover.
“The country’s tourism and hospitality sector also played a very important role and continues to do so. Thank you to our partners the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry and stakeholders for their input in helping to rebuild cruise and the destination overall.
“We have to continue to work to make memorable and unique destination experiences for our guests as they rediscover the island to assure continued growth in 2019, and everyone working in the hospitality sector must continue playing a key role where service-mindedness is concerned. #SXMStrong,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Wednesday.
Port Management added that crew members onboard the ships also play a crucial role in the economic recovery of the destination as past surveys have shown how they make a considerable contribution to the economy of the country.
St. Maarten has in the past received high marks from cruise passenger and crew surveys. According to the BREA (Business Research & Economic Advisors) Report, which is a survey-based analysis of the impacts of passenger, crew and cruise line spending, that was prepared for the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and Participating Destinations, October 2015 edition, destination St. Maarten led all destinations with nearly US$423 million in cruise passenger spending for the 2014/15 cruise season.
St. Maarten had the second highest average expenditure of $119.13 per crew visit and the third highest number of crew onshore visits (377,400); St. Maarten had the second highest total expenditure among the 35 participating destinations, $45.0 million.
In St. Maarten crew expenditures were concentrated on retail purchases of electronics and jewelry. These were followed by spending for food and beverages and clothing. These four categories accounted for 70 percent of total crew spending in St. Maarten.