GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Minister Hon. Ingrid Arrindell of the Ministry Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), who was unable to attend Seatrade Cruise Global in Florida, last week due to the 2016 Budget discussions, was represented by her Chef de Cabinet Alex Dijkhoffz.
Dijkhoffz was part of the Port St. Maarten delegation that traveled to represent the destination at the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry, which brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition.
Minister Arrindell was very pleased to hear about the successes booked by Port St. Maarten under the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo and his team at the cruise conference, such as becoming the homeport for Seabourn Cruises in December and for the Pullmantur Group, also for the start of the 2016-2017 cruise season.
Seabourn Cruises is a luxury cruise line that caters to high-end cruise passengers. The cruise line pioneered small-ship, ultra-luxury cruising, and continues to represent the pinnacle of that unique style of travel. Its fleet of intimate, all-suite ships, carrying between 450 and 600 guests each, sail to the world’s most desirable destinations at their peak seasons.
The Pullmantur Group will start homeporting in the latter part of 2016, and develop this business into a year-round service. This group focuses on cruise customers from Latin America and Europe. The vessels used carry approximately 1800 cruise passengers and 450-crew which would translate into approximately 25,000 additional visitors to the destination.
“The clientele from Seabourn Cruises are high-end tourists. Many of them usually arrive at the homeport destination in a private jet. This will mean more business activity for our airport. Prior to boarding the cruise ship, homeport tourists stay in a hotel two days prior to their cruise and two days after they return. This would translate into additional economic activity for various businesses.
“The Pullmantur Group is another significant boost for the destination as it will add additional tourists and business for the tourism and hospitality sector. It also serves part of the diversification of visitors to our island with respect to Latin American and European visitors.
“This will translate into a significant impact on our economy with spinoffs for transportation services, vessel provisioning from our food and beverage wholesalers; fueling services; hotels and villa rentals; as well as air transportation to the destination,” Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Ingrid Arrindell said on Wednesday after being briefed by her Chef de Cabinet about the success of the trip to Seatrade Cruise Global conference that concluded last week.
The conference drew more than 11,000 registered attendees, over 800 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists to the Fort Lauderdale Broward Country Convention Center.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten officials attended a number of sessions last week Wednesday and Thursday at Seatrade Cruise Global in Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center in Florida.
The overall outcome from attending the cruise conference and meeting with several cruise executives, several cruise lines have indicated about homeporting in St. Maarten. This will be very beneficial for the economy. Firstly, the cruise lines cater to high-end tourists and based on statistics, between 20 and 30 per cent also take a pre and post vacation in relation to the cruise. The interest shown is based on Port St. Maarten’s past homeporting experience with a couple cruise lines; the service provided; and the destinations connectivity to North and Latin America as well as Europe.
Some investments will have to be made in a homeporting cruise terminal in order to further enhance the visitor experience and to retain this type of business for the long-term.
Cruise lines also showed interests in remaining in port much longer. Port St. Maarten has had several vessels remaining in port during the evening hours and observed many cruise passengers visiting local restaurants and further enjoying the nightlife ambiance that the destination has to offer visitors.
Safety was also discussed, and Port St. Maarten Management, would like to thank the Police and other emergency agencies for their hard work during the late night visits.
Port St. Maarten was used as a model by various speakers during workshops and presentations as being a model cruise port of call based on its approach to challenges and developments in order to meet the demands of an ever changing cruise industry. There were also discussions with respect to the construction of new cruise vessels and what it will mean for the Caribbean in terms of itinerary planning.
On Wednesday last week, the information provided to cruise industry stakeholders dealt with trends and developments in a number of areas. The State of the Industry: Caribbean and Cuba, was of interests to Port St. Maarten representatives.
This session dealt with how new destinations are reshaping itineraries and impacting demand. The challenges and opportunities for Cuba and the implications of its opening for the region as a whole were discussed.
There were also state of the industry discussions with respect to Asia/Australasia, Europe and the Americas.
Fuel for Thought: The Viability of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), revealed how the cruise industry appears to be moving toward LNG, and the challenges of the industry were brought into perspective. It provided the attendees an insight on how the industry and their shore-based partners can prepare for this emerging fuel type.
The other two topics covered were 2016 Regulations: What You Need to Know; and Generation Z: The Next Big Disruptor. Generation Z will have wide ranging implications to the cruise industry, from new builds, to cruise shopping, to onboard and shore side experiences. This session explored how to connect with them and how they are about to turn today’s market on its head.
Last week Thursday, the session focused on, Where To Why? Factors Influencing Deployment and Itinerary Strategies. This session looked at emerging trends, themes and innovations in deployment and itinerary strategies.
The final session on Thursday was entitled, Trends and Challenges in Marketing, Sales and Distribution. With so many lines switching creative/media/digital agencies, the panel compared and contrasted some of the new branding/advertising campaigns and trends in media allocation.
Seatrade Cruise Global is the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry that brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition. The conference draws more than 11,000 registered attendees, over 800 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists. Experts, leaders and thought-makers of the cruise industry from the world’s largest cruise companies is the highlight of the conference.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Port St. Maarten.
ST. JOHNS, Antigua - Antigua Sailing Week is delighted to announce Half Moon Bay as an official resort sponsor for the 2016 event.
Replay Resorts, the development company which owns the property recently acquired 132 acres of land on 8,000 feet of oceanfront at Half Moon Bay, including the site of the former Half Moon Bay Hotel.
"We couldn't be more pleased to be working in Antigua. Wherever we create destinations we strive to be a strong part of the community through involvement and support of local charities and events and we feel supporting Antigua Sailing Week is a great first step for the community to begin to get to know us," said Michael Coyle, CEO of Replay Resorts.
"Antigua Sailing Week is an event that evokes passion and excitement from the people of Antigua and from all who attend. It really puts Antigua on the world stage and will be a must attend event for our future hotel guests and homeowners at Half Moon Bay. We couldn't be more excited to be a sponsor of Antigua Sailing Week this year."
BES Islands - In connection with an incident that buoys of the Saba Marine Park were destroyed and the placing of illegal fish traps, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard executed a patrol from the 13th to the 16th of March in the Marine Park. During this patrol, several illegal fish traps were removed from the sea and confiscated.
These traps were in a radius of two miles from the coastline of Saba in the Marine Park and in accordance with article 2 of the Fisheries Act BES, this is an illegal practice.
The patrols were executed in cooperation with the Saba Conservation Foundation. Officials reports were filed by the Coast Guard and send to the police authorities of the BES for further investigation.
While on Saba, a visit was made to the Saba Comprehensive School in St. Johns where promotional materials of the Coast Guard was distributed to create awareness of the students.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) is scheduled for April 6th at 6pm.
The boundaries of the Marine Park are between 18̊ ̊N and 17 ̊-57.0 N and 63 ̊-01.03 W and 63 ̊-04.05 W, in an area better known as “the Proselyte Reef Complex ". This area includes the island’s most ecologically and economical important marine habitat, including extensive coral reef areas and seagrass beds. The Man of War Shoal Marine Park, officially established on the 30th of December 2010, is a home and migratory stop over or breeding site for 3 IUCN Red List Species, 10 CITES Appendix I species and 89 Appendix II species.
It is an area with a relatively healthy population of marine mammals including migratory whales and dolphins, numerous species of shark, sea turtles and numerous fish species.Studies conducted by the St. Maarten Nature Foundation have shown that biodiversity in this area, particularly coral reef density, is high and the economic goods and services which the ecosystem provides are in excess of fifty million dollars annually.” It has been shown that no-fishing areas have resulted in an increase in fish stock. Therefore it is also in the interest of fishermen to adhere to the no catch rules of the Marine Park,” continued the Foundation.
During a patrol on Saturday morning the Foundation assisted a fisherman locate his fish traps which were placed legally outside of the Marine Protected Area.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – On Friday, March 18, a number of passengers on-board Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship was infected with an infectious virus. The vessel was boarded outside Port St. Maarten and was boarded by a Port Control Team that also included officials from the Ministry of Public Health and the Shipping & Maritime Authority, to gather further information with respect to the on-board virus.
While onboard, the Port Control Team were informed of additional cases, and based on this information and after further evaluation, it was decided in the interests of public health that the passengers and crew should not disembark. The causative agent at the time of inspection was unknown and the Captain was advised to return to homeport for vessel sanitation procedures.
The cruise ship industry from time to time suffers from the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses, and the Norovirus is a very contagious virus and the one that is most prominent. You can get the virus from an infected person, from contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.
The Norwegian Gem which was outside Port St. Maarten left after the decision of the Port Control Team was made.
Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are common, and according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), outbreaks are found and reported more quickly on a cruise ship than on land.
The Norwegian Gem was the newest cruise ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet until the debut of Norwegian Epic. The vessel came into service in 2007 and has a gross tonnage of 93,530; is 965 feet in length; has 15 decks; carries 2384 passengers and 1154 crew.
The Norwegian Gem is the fourth of Norwegian’s Jewel class.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten officials are currently attending Seatrade Cruise Global in Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center in Florida which is from March 14-17.
Seatrade Cruise Global is the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry, which brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition. The conference draws more than 11,000 registered attendees, over 800 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists. Experts, leaders and thought-makers of the cruise industry from the world’s largest cruise companies are the highlight of the conference.
The conference programs offer attendees a comprehensive roster of panel discussions and workshops featuring experts, leaders and thought-makers from the cruise industry.
On Monday the conference touched on Shorex and the Rise of Voluntourism. The latter is one of the fastest growing areas of travel with cruise lines and tour operators meeting these trends by offering volunteering opportunities or “social impact” travel. Conference attendees learnt how ports can adapt and cater to the voluntourism trend.
The second topic covered on Monday was Seasonality and its Impact on Deployment. The cruise industry is challenging the conventions of seasonal deployment. How far can the cruise season in traditional areas be extended and what are the challenges that this strategy throws up for cruise liens and destinations?
The two aforementioned are very interesting to the Port St. Maarten delegation attending the conference which includes Port Management and Supervisory Board of Directors.
Port St. Maarten will be discussing with cruise stakeholders during the four-day conference onshore developments; inland passenger and crew spending; deployment of vessels; and homeporting.
Homeporting would have a positive spin-off for the destination whereby cruise passengers would be spending two to three days prior to boarding the vessel for their cruise and upon return.
On Tuesday port officials attended the State of the Global Cruise Industry, which looked at the Cuba, expansion in Asia and other geo-political issues affecting the cruise industry. The world’s chief executives of the largest cruise companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Line, and MSC Cruises, examined the aforementioned.
There was also a presentation and panel discussion related to the State of the Industry: Upscale Cruising. Panelists examined how upscale operators are meeting costly technology demands, such as free Wi-Fi, and how they’re differentiating their brands in today’s market.
The third workshop was on Global Ports and Terminals: Globalization Examined. This focused on the particular challenges of creating the right shore side facilities to match the needs of larger and more sophisticated ships, and how are they being addressed by the world’s leading cruise ports.
The other topic addressed on Tuesday was Cybercrime on the High Seas: How Cyber Attacks Occur and What You Can Do About Them. This presentation featured an expert on maritime cyber threats and an IT security executive from one of the major cruise lines discussed the latest attacks on maritime organizations, the threat actors who might target the shipping industry, and the specific methods that cyber criminals could use to target ships and their supporting networks.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - A male Gypsy taxi driver with initials H.C.C. operating in the vicinity of the A. C. Wathey Cruise Facility was arrested on Thursday March 17th at approximately 11.40 a.m. when he was approached by a police patrol and who were in the process of writing him a fine for illegal parking.
The suspect became very aggressive, using profanity and very insulting towards the officers.
At one point the suspect threatened one officer letting him to know he will be dealt with when he, the suspect, meets him alone on the road.
The officers decided to arrest the suspect who immediately started resisting the arrest.
The officers managed to put the suspect in handcuffs and took him to the police station for further investigation.
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