PORT ST. MAARTEN – Members of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council Cruise Summit (PAMAC) will be visiting the destination on January 23 as part of their summit work sessions during the multi-destination cruise. The PAMAC Summit is taking place from January 19-26 onboard the cruise ship MSC Seaside.
During the vessels port call, marine and tourism industry pioneer and one of the first FCCA Platinum Members, Sir Bobby Velasquez, will be sponsoring a tour for his fellow Platinum Members with an unforgettable day onboard one of the company’s vessels La Nina.
According to Sir Bobby, “I joined as a FCCA Platinum Member many years ago, not with the intention of self but to showcase and promote our island which I take pride in doing time and time again and in every aspect of my ventures.”
La Nina, known to many visitors as the SXM Airport Adventure, is an exciting double-decker party boat excursion that provides a unique view of St. Maarten’s infamous airplane landings from the sea, while offering swimming, snorkeling, food, and drinks in a safe friendly high energy atmosphere.
On January 23rdthe boat will transform into a unique tour designed specifically for the FCCA Platinum members, creating a memorable day filled as guest sail along the coast taking in breathtaking St. Maarten views and enjoying some sun and sea.
Celebrating their 50thanniversary, Bobby’s Marina has etched its way as a local landmark in Philipsburg since 1968, providing a full line of marine services, along with a wide selection of activities, excursion,shopping and dining experiences and a location that serves as a gateway to the capital andthe heart of St. Maarten.
The Bobby’s Marina group expands into various services which also include Great Bay Express Ferry Service, SXM Airport Adventure/La Nina, and Octopus Diving with direct tours for cruise line visitors daily.
More than 100 attendees, including FCCA Platinum Members-key cruise tourism stakeholders-and over 30 high-ranking executives from the FCCA’s 19 Member Lines, will be attending the FCCA PAMAC Cruise Summit.
“St. Maarten has the most popular Cruise Port in the Caribbean. As a tourist destination, the island’s unique dual status of being a French and Dutch Territory, its history, beautiful beaches and attractive excursions are unparalleled in the region.
“Additionally, Port St. Maarten has maintained a high standard of service that makes port calls even more attractive for the Platinum Members of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association.
“Considering that we continue to rebuild our destination to create a sustainable economic future, we are especially eager to have the opportunity this year to promote the island. Our focus will be on sharing vital information about the improvements we have made as a destination post-Irma, and we will also make use of the opportunity to learn best practices and understand directly from the Cruise Executives how they think we can improve our product to meet the needs of today’s traveller.
“We are aware that the traveller’s demands constantly evolve and with the Cruise Executives having direct contact with millions of visitors, the FCCA PAMAC Platinum Members Cruise Summit is an ideal event for us to learn what people are saying about our destination, so we better meet our visitors’ needs,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Sunday.
Port St. Maarten Management is looking forward to welcoming the FCCA PAMAC business and cruise executives where they will get the opportunity to sample the destination island experience for a few hours.
“We would like to say thank you to Sir Bobby Velasquez for contributing and making La Nina available for the island platinum experience. This will be a perfect teaser for the attendees leading up to the PAMAC Conference that will be held on the island at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa in June,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Sunday.
Port St. Maarten’s delegation that will be attending the PAMAC Cruise Summit led by Minister of Tourism Stuart Johnson, looks forward to discussing long term cruise opportunities as well as the destination continuing to be able to deliver every year a premium product for cruise passengers and crew and thereby continuing to enhance the island experience of the aforementioned.
Port Management and representatives of the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau are well aware of regional competition, and therefore the destination will continue to rebuild and recover which can only be achieved by being innovative and reinventing the cruise sector in collaboration with all stakeholders.
“During the PAMAC Cruise Summit, it is imperative for us as a cruise destination to remain at the forefront and networking with cruise executives which will result in a further increase in cruise passenger numbers for the 2019/2020 season. We have a lot to showcase FCCA PAMAC Platinum Members. Destination St. Maarten/St. Martin is where cruise passengers continue to make memorable experiences,” Port St. Maarten Management concluded.
The seven-day event will feature a series of meetings, workshops and networking events connecting with senior cruise industry leaders to discuss industry trends and standards and develop relationships and mutual benefits for the cruise lines and members’ companies and destinations.
The FCCA PAMAC Platinum Members will also visit Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and The Bahamas.
The PAMAC event is one of many that the FCCA coordinates for its Platinum Members and Member Lines to stay at the forefront of information about both the industry and destinations while finding ways to maximize the benefits for all.
The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 19 Member Lines operating over 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA’s mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and to develop bilateral relationships with destinations’ private and public sectors.
By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Sir Bobby Velasquez along with Port St. Maarten Senior Management Chief Financial Officer Ton van Kooten, Chief Operations Officer Richard van der Mark along with reps from Bobby’s Marina Group and Port St. Maarten, preparing for the port call of FCCA PAMAC business and cruise executives.