POINT BLANCHE - The 21st Florida Caribbean Cruise Conference (FCCA) Conference & Trade Show to be held from October 6-10 will jump start the upcoming 2014-2015 tourism season.
The conference and trade show will attract to the destination more than 1000 cruise industry partners, including close to 100 cruise executives during that one week period.
For cruise executives, ports and destinations, cruise and tourism agencies, attractions, ship agents, suppliers and tour operators, the annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year to meet key industry players, analyse trends and discuss current issues.
“Destination St. Maarten/St. Martin hosting and organizing the 21st FCCA Conference & Trade Show will also have an economic spin-off for small, medium and big business,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo pointed out.
According to the Department of Statistics “Factors Statistical Magazine” of December 2013, the cruise industry is a success for the Caribbean which continues to rank as the dominant cruise destination, accounting for 37.3 per cent all global itineraries in 2013. The Caribbean continues to have the leading share of cruise industry capacity, although there has been growth in all global cruise regions.
Based on a Tourism Exit Survey (TES) Report for the 1st quarter of 2013, based on a total of 509 respondents representing over 2,000 cruise passengers, 54 per cent of the cruise respondents, predominantly reside in North America (USA 43 per cent, Canadian 10 per cent); travel groups have an average size of 3.5 persons and largely consist of family and friends.
68 per cent of individuals are in the age range of 15-49, and respondents to the survey spent an average US$199,11 per person on various miscellaneous activities followed by shopping and entertainment activities.
When respondents were questioned as to whether they are returning visitors to the island, 68 per cent of them indicated not having visited the destination prior to the cruise; whereas 31 per cent were returning visitors.
The visitor’s attraction to the destination, 54 per cent said it had to do with the presence of St. Maarten on the cruise itinerary which influenced their purchase decision.
The Port St. Maarten is ranked one of the highest in growth in cruise passengers as well as cruise passenger expenditure levels. Last year the Port St. Maarten received 1,785.670 cruise passengers, 32,455 passengers more than in 2012. Cruise passengers arrived on 631 vessel calls for 2013.
Port St Maarten CEO Mingo says the cruise sector is a significant economic contributor to the Gross National Product (GDP) of the country. The FCCA comprises of 15 cruise lines operating more than 100 vessels out of United States ports.
Port St. Maarten was second in the top five destinations with US$356.2 million in expenditures by passengers and crew; according to the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) September 2012 study. The top five destinations have US$1.43 billion in direct expenditures, accounting for 72 per cent of the total cruise tourism expenditures among the 21 destinations.
The cruise sector is a key strategic economic pillar of the country’s economy, generating a total of 8,123 jobs with a wage income of US$160 million.
The significance of the FCCA to the country’s economy speaks for itself.