POINT BLANCHE –With 100 cruise executives, presidents, chief executive officers, and approximately 1000 conference attendees scheduled to attend the 21st Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) Conference & Trade Show from October 6-10, destination St. Maarten/St. Martin should see a boost in tourist’s arrivals pre and post conference.
“With a conference of this capacity, the spill over benefits will be tremendous for the destination. Conference delegates will also be traveling with family members and they will be arriving a on the weekend before the conference begins. This means money into our economy.
“More than the majority of the delegates and family members have never visited destination St. Maarten/St. Martin, so it will be a first for them. Without a doubt, they will tell friends and other family members back home about their St. Maarten/St. Martin experience. This will result in new business for the island as they return for a holiday on the island,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo of Port St. Maarten observed.
CEO Mingo added that the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show should be a stepping stone for the destination to get into conference and convention tourism.
“Conference and convention tourism is a niche market that should be explored and developed. Business travel and meetings, and incentive travel can boost stay-over tourism numbers. These visitors will also spend money sightseeing, entertainment and in our casino’s just a few to mention.
“We have an opportunity in the FCCA post-conference period to work towards establishing St. Maarten as a dynamic business events destination. If we can host, organize and cater to the FCCA Conference, we can do other ones as well.
“Imagine the spin-off for small and medium size businesses. It will also promote the development of other small businesses who can offer value experience tours about our culture and heritage, the marine life, our arts and much more. These are key selling points as we reinvent cruise St. Maarten.
“It’s all about the future of our tourism sector, cruise and stay-over. We have to reinvent ourselves and we must start today. I am very confident about the future, but we need all hands on deck to make it work and to make it happen. We have done well after 50-years as a cruise destination, and we will continue on the foundation that has been built,” CEO Mark Mingo concluded.
Cruise tourism contributions to St. Maarten as a destination is very prominent.
According to the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) 2012 study, Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies, the average expenditure per passenger in St. Maarten was $185.40, which benefitted numerous industries through purchases of goods that included food and beverage at restaurants and bars, clothing, shore excursions, ground transportation, local crafts and souvenirs, watches and jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics, electronics, entertainment/night clubs/casinos, retail purchases of liquor, and telephone and internet.
The same study showed that the average expenditure per crew in St. Maarten was $135.50 on similar products and services. Plus it revealed the direct and indirect employment generated by the cruise industry, totaling 8,123 jobs and $159.8 million in employee wages.
The FCCA has 15 Member Lines, which operate over 100 ships in Caribbean and Latin American waters.