Island News

St.Maarten Distilleries to Launch Locally-Produced Soualiga Rum

squaliga rum

St. Maarten Distillers set out to add some diversification to the local economy when it commercially distilling and bottling its own line of locally made rums in the country under the brand – Soualiga Rum.  The company currently produces ten flavours of rums at its Simpson Bay distillery from scratch.  The flavours are Mango, Guava, White Rhum, Pineapple, Coconut Ginger, Vodka, Aged Rhum, Passion Fruit, Black Cake and Havana Mojito Blend.  St. Maarten Distilleries Business Development Officer Kelston Brooks told the Press, the company started making small amounts of the rum at local restaurant Boca Marina two years ago, and it was such a big hit among customers that they decided to branch out and make the product commercially so that more persons can enjoy the great taste of a beverage produced from scratch right here in St. Maarten.


News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Belair Beach Hotel Welcomes First Guests at Soft Opening


Belair Beach Hotel has reopened its doors to welcome its first guests since Hurricane Irma struck the island in September 2017.  The hotel had its soft opening last week.  This milestone in the hotel’s as well as St. Maarten recovery was celebrated with guests, staff and Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin.  Twenty four of the hotel’s 70 rooms were severely damaged by Irma.   Diligent work by the hotel management and staff right after the hurricane has led to the reopening of 54 rooms.  The remaining rooms are expected to be back in operation in the next three weeks, said General Manager Calvin Turner.  Romeo-Marlin told hotel staff this soft opening: “Without you this could not happen.  This is the attitude we should all have in St. Maarten, to ensure that we get back to where we were.”


News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Disney Cruises to Return in January

Cruise Ship Disney Fantasy will return to St. Maarten next month.  The ship will also make several calls here in February and March.  Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Mellisa Arrindell-Doncher hailed Disney’s expected to return as “a major accomplishment for the destination” last week.  “This shows great confidence in the destination,” she said.  She thanked Disney Cruise Line for being “a great partner” as the country continues to rebound from the hard hit of Hurricane Irma.  “Despite what we recently went through with Hurricane Irma, we aim to maintain St. Maarten as a premier destination of choice for cruise visitors through meticulous planning, new experiences and a commitment.  


News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Cruise Industry Forecasts 27.2 Million Passengers in 2018

Based On discussions at the recently concluded Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Port of St. Maarten management discussed the industry outlook along with the forecast for St. Maarten specifically.  “Though in its infancy stage, the cruise industry will see approximately 27.2 million passengers cruise in 2018 globally.  Port of St. Maarten will play a pivotal role in the overall Eastern Caribbean offering great experiences post-Hurricane Irma.  Demand for cruising in general increased by 20-plus per cent over the last five years.  Key partners within the Eastern Caribbean region will be meeting in the near future to strategize on luring more passengers to the islands damaged by the last hurricanes, once again demonstrating the Caribbean is open in line  with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association multi million-dollar industry campaign.  



News courtesy of Caribbean Gems.

Pan in Paradise Show in Festival Village this Year

This annual Steel Pan Christmas Concert organized by Ebony Steel Orchestra is still going strong after 26 years with the announcement last week that the show will take place in the Festival Village in Philipsburg this year.  The red carpet affair is organized by Dow’s Musical Foundation and is set for December 26.   The Foundation moved its pan school into the Festival Village recently and saw it fitting to have the show at the Village later this month.  The show will showcase steel pan talents of primary and high school talents. 



News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Air France Announces Non-Stop Flights to SXM

Air France announces last week that it is resuming its non-stop flight schedule between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport SXM.  Two special non-stop flights for the Christmas holiday period will operate between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Airport SXM on December 23, 2017, and January 6, 2018 according to the airline press statement.    From January 13 to March 26, 2018, the end of 2017-2018 winter season, Air France will be operating the non-stop service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and SXM.  



News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

St. Maarten Becomes First Partner of 'The Caribbean is Open' Campaing

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the trade association representing the mutual interest of the cruise industry, destinations and stakeholders in the Caribbean and Latin America, has announced that St. Maarten has become the first destination partner of the Associations multi-faceted, million-dollar campaign “The Caribbean is Open.” 

“We could not be any prouder to partner with St. Maarten in this imperative initiative,” said FCCA president Michele Paige.  “They have worked around the clock to reopen for tourism and we look forward to showcasing those actions, along with the amazing products and friendly smiles awaiting visitors, to help inject a needed economic boost.” 

The destination’s perseverance has led to it already being open for tourism, with Princess Juliana International Airport SXM accepting commercial flights, replenished beaches, most shops, restaurants and bars open in Philipsburg and tour operators ready to deliver unforgettable experiences, cruise tourism will also resume port calls in December.   


News Courtesy of Caribbean Gems