"…the SXM newsletter for experienced travelers!
Connecting YOU with Paradise!"
Dear Friends of St. Maarten,
Who stole six days of summer?
Everyone knows that summer unofficially ends on the first Monday in September celebrated as Labor Day, a national holiday in the USA, which happened to be September 1st this year. Yet, everyone knows that the official end of summer and beginning of autumn is on September 22nd.
So, why do the beaches and businesses in towns along the New Jersey, New York and Connecticut shores close after Labor Day? Why do public swimming pools in New York City close after Labor Day? This occurs even though we still have a few weeks of warm, sunny, beautiful weather ahead of us.
In my town, school reopened last Wednesday, September 3rd and you could hear the moaning and groaning on every street corner as school buses approached waiting students returning to school. Summer has ended and family vacations are over.
Why, you ask? Because, everything centers on Labor Day.
Did you know that in 2009, Labor Day, the first Monday in September was on September 7th and in 2010, it was on September 6th. Each year, we lose a day or two (Leap Year) of summer culminating in the year when Labor Day is September 1st. I’m happy to say that in 2015, Labor Day will once again fall on September 7th.
So why not make September 7th permanently Labor Day and extend the unofficial end of summer by one more week? If we did this, beaches and businesses in shore towns and swimming pools in cities would make more money, families could take longer vacations, children would be happier, and no one would be accused of stealing our days of summer.
By the way, did I mention that summer in St. Maarten/St. Martin is 365 days long?
Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's
Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism -
Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association
Featured in this issue:
1. Featured Villa: St. Martin Villa Rentals by Preferred Escapes
2. Featured Shop: Blooming Baskets by Lisa
3. Featured Restaurant: Beau Beau's Restaurant
4. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images
5. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two
6. Featured Hotel: Oyster Bay Beach Resort
7. Featured Activity: Lee's Deep Sea Fishing
8. Special Feature: Select Yachts
9. What's Happening in Paradise?
The Best Villa Vacation You Will Ever Have!
If you are planning a villa vacation to St. Martin/St. Maarten this season, you will want to speak with our friends and luxury villa wholesaler Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas. This villa company represents over 200 luxury villas on both sides of the island and always has some special offers available.
---------------St. Martin Villa Forty-Seven located on Bay Rouge Beach
------------------3 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | As low as $1,214 USD p/night
Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas cater to guests just like you and can ensure that you receive the very best rates in addition to their world class service and 24 hour concierge. As an added benefit to you this company is also a registered licensed villa company which gives you peace of mind and reservation payment protection.
Check out Preferred Escapes Villa Service Guarantee and Recent Guest Reviews!
-------------------St. Martin Villa Fifteen located on Bay Rouge Beach
--------------------1 Bedroom | 1 Bathroom | As low as $1,000 USD p/night
This team of villa professionals have the inside scoop on the villas, local attractions and activities here that you need to know. With over 17 years of villa vacation experience this company knows how important it is for you to select the right villa for your vacation while saving you both time and money. Best of all, since they have been chosen to represent the owners of these villas you do not have to pay for their services at all and benefit by receiving the lowest rates from their business volume.
------------------ St. Martin Villa Fifty-Nine located in Terres Basses
--------------------- 4 Bedroom | 4 Bathrooms | As low as $814 p/night
You can request a villa of your choice or they are more than happy to make a recommendation for you based on your desired location and budget standard. Once your villa reservation is finalized they will then assist you with all of the finer details of your stay including villa provisioning, car rentals, reservations, local activities and travel coverage. Best of all, they remain available to you throughout your stay.
We recommend that you check out Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas today. You will not be disappointed.
Preferred Escapes St. Martin Villas
Or Telephone: 1.800.559.2850 | 1.519.266.6711
Visit our website: www.preferredescapes.com/caribbean/st-martin/luxury-villas
---------- --- ---
Not Your Mother's "Pocketbook!"
Offered in a rainbow of sizes and colors, Blooming Baskets by Lisa are definitely not your mother’s flowered pocketbooks. All “Blooming Baskets by Lisa” floral handbags are individually designed and hand-made here on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. No two are ever perfectly identical – so you’ll not enter a room and encounter that dreadful situation. They’re also infinitely fashionable. Equally at home when you’re wearing jeans to a picnic or elegant couture to a wedding… or, at the Academy Awards, should you be nominated or spend time with Hollywood friends.
Welcome to the world of Blooming Baskets by Lisa. Here, you’ll learn how we make them… the many places where you can use them… you’ll see our collection… and you’ll be able to order your very own handmade purse as well.
About Blooming Baskets!
In 1993, Lisa and Michele, two sisters from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, moved to St. Martin in the Caribbean. In 2000, they opened a handbag boutique which sold designer American handbags. Inspired by the kaleidoscope of flowers that populate the St. Martin countryside, in 2002, they took ordinary straw and raffia bags and put them on steroids. The result: colorful, whimsical new bags adorned with gorgeous silk flowers.
Blooming Baskets by Lisa, an entirely new class of “handbag” that defies traditional description, had been born. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Lisa and Michele’s signature flowered Baskets already are being sold throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. You’ll see Blooming Baskets by Lisa carried by the “rich and famous” on islands like the exclusive St. Barts and Anguilla. Go anywhere with a Blooming Basket, and watch heads turn for a closer look.
Lisa designs the Baskets at home on her terrace with the Caribbean Sea, sun, breezes, and flowers as her constant inspirations. Michele runs day-to-day operations. Learn how we make our Baskets. Then… start some excitement with your own colorful whimsical Blooming Basket by Lisa!
Blooming Baskets by Lisa come in four sizes – mini, small, medium, and large; and, because of their strength and durability, our large Baskets are often packed to the hilt and taken to the beach. “Smaller” baskets, which are not really small, go everywhere. Underneath, Blooming Baskets are hand-constructed of high-quality, long-wearing raffia, a natural product obtained from the fronds of the raffia palm. Our raffia is wrapped or covered in long-wearing straw custom-woven for us and sewn for high durability. Our baskets are made individually. Dyes are hand-mixed, with no pre-set recipe; consequently, “purple” on one basket invariably looks a bit different from “purple” on another. Of course, all our dyes are formulated to resist fading.
Since Mother Nature has created an infinite variety of real flowers, we follow suit with all our silk flowers. From Exotic lilies to stunning roses to huge, colorful daisies and many other varieties in countless colors, Mother Nature is faithfully recreated in silk for Blooming Baskets by Lisa.
A couple of heads-up
First, we never create exactly the same Blooming Basket by Lisa twice. So when you order one of our beautiful floral handbags, know that your bag will be unique. The flowers (in color, design, and placement) and the precise bag color will differ, if ever so slightly, from our photos. You’re a unique person. So, your Blooming Basket will be unique, too.
Second, our floral handbags themselves change. Some colors disappear, others are introduced, and the combinations of flowers and dyes change. So, if you see something that catches your eye today, grab it. It may be gone forever next time you look.
“Blooming Baskets by Lisa” offers baskets in four sizes and many flowers and flower colors. And of course, there are many Basket colors.
The Results speak for themselves. No, they sing more than speak. And, you will absolutely love the melody!
----------------Blooming Baskets by Lisa
-----------------------Marina Village of Porto Cupecoy, Sint Maarten
-----------For additional information, Tel: 1.721.586.7055 or 1.721.522.6668
Oyster Bay’s popular beachside bar and grill, Beau Beau’s Restaurant, gets a refreshing new look and taste! The restaurant has been renovated to include a new deck for island-breeze dining and dancing and beautiful new decor for the corridor between Beau Beau’s and the resort. And, get ready for your taste buds to start tingling!
Beau Beau’s is spicing things up with an exciting, new menu. After collaborating with Infinity Restaurant’s talented chefs, Beau Beau’s is unveiling tantalizing new tastes like its Southern Caribbean Fried Chicken – comfort food Caribbean-style; a light and delicious blackened Ahi Tuna steak served with a ginger lemon soy sauce; refreshing spring rolls topped with sweet and sour salsa and fresh mint; or taste a little bit of home with Beau Beau’s homemade classic meat lasagna. Whatever your taste, and whatever your mood, you’ll find something to pique your palate and delight your taste buds at Beau Beau’s. Stop by for a fun evening of live entertainment and fabulous food. As always, Beau Beau’s offers live entertainment and a riot of a good time. Join us soon and savor the sights, sounds and flavors of Oyster Bay Beach Resort’s recently-renovated beachside restaurant.
Editors Note: What a wonderful evening we had at Beau Beau's Restaurant, which is located at the beautiful Oyster Bay Beach Resort at Oyster Pond. The service was excellent: Cami (Manager), Laura (Supervisor), Alain (our server) and Joseph (server), we could not have asked for a better more attentive staff.
The food was delightful, nice preparation and presentation. We started with Conch Fritters with coleslaw and a green salad, which were very tasty. For entrees, we enjoyed grilled Mahi-Mahi in a white wine sauce which were perfectly cooked, delicious, and accompanied by a baked potato, green salad and mixed vegetables. Dessert? Who can say “No”
to Crème Brule? It was scrumptious!!! And, Alain melted the sugar topping at our table with a fired torch.
The drinks (our brand of scotch) were great and the entertainers, Addy/the singer – Louis Armstrong impersonator, the costumed dancers, and the participating audience were a treat to see, listen to and laugh with. In addition, we had a spectacular view of the evening stars populating the darkened sky, the cascading waves of the Atlantic Ocean lapping at the sandy shore and the lights of villas on the hillsides.
On your next trip to St. Maarten, put the “new” Beau Beau’s restaurant on your list of places to eat and be entertained. Recently expanded with new decking and canvas ceilings, Beau Beau’s is one of the nicest open-walled beach bars on the island. Call 1.721.543.6040 for reservations, which are a must. There wasn’t an open seat/table available the night we were there. And, to top it off, Beau Beau’s management raffled off a one week stay to the people in the audience. It was a great night!
Always looking for new ways to offer first-class amenities, Oyster Bay Beach Resort has partnered with a nearby beach concessionaire to open up an additional 5,000 square feet of beach access to our guests and owners. This long-term partnership affords guests more space and a better environment. Plus, for those who make the short walk (100 yards down beach from Dawn Beach), they will find higher ground, a smoother water entrance, and the same resort amenities, including towels, chairs and our food and beverage service courtesy of Beau Beau’s. This additional space, known locally as Mrs. B’s and at the resort as Oyster Bay South Beach, is marked with resort banners. Let us know what you think! We always appreciate your feedback.
The management, staff and several guests of Oyster Bay Beach Resort, along with the home owners of the Oyster Pond Estates, unveiled the newly designed Border Monument / Sign at the corner of Oyster Pond Road, today. The sign was designed by architect Joseph Sistler of Joseph Allan & Company, who has overseen the design of much of the expansion and renovation occurring at the Resort over the last several years. The sign was commissioned to help guide the Resort’s guests at a critical intersection as well as to discourage unsightly home made sign proliferation at that critical intersection. The investment in a permanent monument sign for that location helps confirm Oyster Bay Beach Resort’s continued commitment to the Island and the Community.
During the unveiling Ricardo Perez, General Manager, thanked the land owner, Leslie Martina, owner of The Big Fish restaurant on Oyster Pond, for making the area available. He also thanked the Oyster Pond Estates Foundation for their support in allowing Oyster Bay Beach Resort to beautify the area with a prominent and distinctive marker for the Oyster Pond community. Perez noted that the sign will make a very helpful directional reference for instructions that are given to visitors that are unfamiliar with the area and ensure they reach the community at Oyster Pond rather than make an unscheduled visit to the French side.
Beau Beau's Restaurantat Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Emerald Merit Road #10, Oyster Pond, St. Maarten
For Reservations telephone 1.721.543.6040 or 1.721.543.6040
Please visit our website at: www.obbr.com
------ St. Maarten/St. Martin Images
- Philipsburg Market Day -------------------- Philipsburg Beach
People Waiting for Plane Landings --------Sonesta Maho Resort Beach
--------- A White Egret by a Pond ---------------La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano
Sign Up to Win our December 2014
Subscribe to our Newsletter & You May
Win a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
or NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
plus, A Day of Sailing on a Random Wind Charter
Oyster Bay Beach Resort
Perched on a palm-dotted promontory and surrounded by Dawn Beach and Oyster Pond is St. Maarten's most private and distinctive hideaway - Oyster Bay Beach Resort. Like St. Maarten - a beautiful island that embraces its dual Dutch and French ancestry - Oyster Bay truly offers the best of both worlds. A step back in time to unspoiled Caribbean beauty, with a nod to modern amenities that pamper your desires.
Nestled among the coves and curves of the pristine, mile-long Dawn Beach, the Resort is located on one of the island's most stunning landscapes. From the moment you arrive through Oyster Bay's private secured entry and gatehouse, you will feel your cares slip away as you immerse yourself in an unforgettable experience.
Most of the 178 units - comprised of two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio units, all with private balconies - sit directly above the ocean or beach, with the rest overlooking the peaceful marina and tropical gardens. Just steps away from your room is our magnificent oceanfront infinity pool, whose gently curving edges drop dramatically above the sea. Relaxing in our whirlpool, you have an unobstructed view of St. Barths Island, visible across a 10-mile expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. From the aroma of sumptuous oceanfront meals at our gourmet restaurants and delectable hors d'oeuvres at our classy deckside VIP cocktail parties to the spectacle of sight and sound offered by our very own King Beau Beau, the island's most cherished and talented performer, everything here is designed to delight your senses.
At Oyster Bay, you can embrace adventure through fun on-site activities - or just find your own special place to sink into serenity. And there are no limits to what you can see and do elsewhere on the island. We are just minutes away from the hottest nightlife and shopping found in Philipsburg; the famous Orient Beach; and Grand Case, the gourmet capital of the Caribbean. With the help of our friendly activity desk staff, you can plan any number of extraordinary excursions. Take a closer look at Oyster Bay and discover why this is where you want to be.
To Be or Not to Be... A Timeshare Owner?
You have probably heard about timeshare ownership for years. You may have heard that such reputable large hotel chains as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Disney are deeply involved in the timeshare industry. You probably know someone – perhaps a relative, friend or neighbor – who is a timeshare owner.
Maybe now it’s time that you found out for yourself what timeshare ownership is all about. Whether younger or older, with or without children, single or married, most people benefit from the enjoyment of timeshare ownership. What are the advantages?
HAPPINESS AND WELL-BEING
When you own a timeshare at Oyster Bay Beach Resort, it’s like the song from the old television show, "Cheers" – where everyone knows your name. From the front desk receptionist and staff members to the sales specialists and Resort Manager, everyone at Oyster Bay Beach Resort understands that you are spending your hard-earned money in exchange for the guarantee of vacations like no other. As an owner, you will enjoy the respect, service and appreciation you deserve. Becoming an owner at Oyster Bay Beach Resort means more than just picking a vacation spot; it’s choosing a way of life that’s all about relaxation, freedom and peace of mind. For more information about how to become an owner, please call our sales office at 1-866-978-0213 Ext. 3882 and ask for Susan Coquin or Henny Ruckert.
-------------------- Certificate of Excellence ---------- Certificate of Excellence
Emerald Merit Road #10, Oyster Pond, St. Maarten
For Hotel Reservations only (Toll Free) 1.866.978.0212 — front desk
For Membership Reservations (Toll Free) 1.888.784.6688
-------When was the last time that you challenged yourself?
When was the last time you had a real good fight? I'm talking a knock down drag out affair that could last for hours! One where you've tested not only your arm muscles, but your fortitude, perseverance, skill, intelligence and probably some attributes you may not even know you possess. Gotcha thinking? I'm not talking about a fist fight at the local bar! I'm talking about deep sea fishing! When you challenge the big ones of the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, just because you get your hook in his mouth doesn't mean that you've caught him. The fight has only just begun!
Every day is Fishing Day; but, every day is not catching day! For better odds of catching a big one, when you fish aboard one of Captain Lee Halley's four Bertram fishing boats, your chances are great for hooking up with a Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi or Tuna not to mention Barracuda and other pelagic and reef fish. Lee is native born and has been fishing the waters around St. Maarten/St. Martin since 1982, which doesn't include his youth with his father and uncles. Lee's trained Captains and crews will show you the best day possible on the water. Charters include all tackle, drinks and bait. So, just bring some Sunscreen and Dramamine for those of you that get a little queasy and be prepared to have a good time.
A few years ago, on a Saturday in November, "Challenge," the boat captained by Lee won The Sint Maarten Deep Sea Fishing Challenge. Lee and his crew not only won the $1,000 First Prize for the Heaviest Qualifying Fish (56 lbs Yellow Fin Tuna), they also won the $500 Second Prize for the Most Weight Overall (607 lbs). A week later, Lee Halley and his crew went fishing 60 miles out to an area of the Caribbean Sea they describe as "A fisherman's dream!" By the end of the day, they had caught 39 Wahoo, 6 Mahi-Mahi, 3 Blue Stripe Runners and two Barracuda for a total of more than 1,500 lbs. This is no "Fish Story." Barbara and I were sitting in the restaurant when they came in to unload at the dock.
Also, several years ago, an American tourist on one of Lee's charters caught a 486lb Marlin. Needless to say, this one is listed in the history books. So, if you're looking for adventure, willing to challenge the sea, hoping to find the big fella in the picture and have the perseverance of Hemingway's "Old Man and The Sea!" contact Lee's Deep Sea Fishing for a half-day or full-day charter adventure. We wish you good fishing and tight lines!
Prices include: Fishing on a 31Ft Bertram - Captain & Mate - Rods & Bait, Beer, soda, water & full day trips also get a light lunch. Bring hats, towels, sun glasses, sun screen, & camera. Shared trips arranged upon request. We fish for Blue/White Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Tuna. We troll around St. Maarten, off the bank of Saba, St. Eustatius, Anguilla and St. Barths. Depending on the weather we go 10-12 miles for 1/2 half day and 3/4 day trips and 24-30 miles for full day trips. Maximum 6 people on the boat. Check in time: AM trips 6:30am – PM trips 12:30pm
Cruise Ship Arrivals:
Take a taxi as soon as possible, to Lee's Road Side Grill & Deep Sea Fishing in Simpson Bay, and we'll start your trip when you arrive to our dock. (Approximately 20 minute drive depending on traffic).
THE BOAT KEEPS THE CATCH
Free lunch/dinner with YOUR CATCH for the people that go fishing. We only cook Wahoo, Mahi and Tuna.
For a lifetime of enjoyment in the World of Deep Sea Fishing, Lee's has offered the best fishing available on St. Maarten. They cater to the Pro's and amateurs alike. So, as long as you enjoy fishing, they'll do their best to show you a Great Time. And, when you get back to the dock, your catch can be cooked on the Roadside Grill. By the way, plan on stopping by Lee's Roadside Grill, which is well known for great grilled food and live band music. It's one of the most popular restaurants on the island. So, if you have the urge to fish or if you just want to be able to tell one of your own fish stories someday, charter one of Lee's boats and treat yourself to an exciting adventure. Go ahead, challenge yourself!
Lee's Deep Sea Fishing
84 Welfare Road, Simpson Bay Lagoon
across from Royal Palm Resort
For reservations, tel: 1.721.544.4233 Fax: 1.721.544.4234
Charter Yacht experts Select Yachts, in conjunction with Crew Solutions, open SE 17th Street Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
FT LAUDERDALE, FL. (Aug. 12, 2014) – Select Yachts, a well-known Sint Maarten Charter Sales and Marketing Company, has moved it’s main office and Corporate Headquarters to the world’s yachting capital, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Crew Solutions, a well-established, highly successful placement service, headed up by Ms. Beverly Grant, will share space and services with Select Yachts.
Select Yachts Corporate Director Ann E McHorney, who has resided in both Sint Maarten and Fort Lauderdale for decades, says the move is a logical progression. She states that the Sint Maarten office remains as a support entity, however, now more of the online activity, banking, and marketing functions take place in Fort Lauderdale. “When it comes to vacations, people love the Caribbean, but for getting things done we can’t beat the ease of the US! As time moves on we find we have become more and more “cyber”. The reality is that we can be almost anywhere with good internet access, but for cost and accessibility we just love South Florida!”
Along with their charter sales to clients worldwide, Select Yachts has actively managed a rapidly expanding fleet of both sail and power yachts for over ten years. Fleet Manager Marilyn Eckel remains in the Caribbean and heads up Charter Marketing for the Sailing Fleet. More recent on the scene is charter veteran Bonnie Mims, now in charge of the Motor Yacht Division.
Ms. Dayle Reimer, who has an extensive corporate publicity background, manages Advertising and Promotions for Select Yachts Charter Sales and Charter Fleet departments. Dayle is no stranger to the Yacht Charter Industry, having prior history as a Charter Broker with Adventures Afloat. Dayle acts as a Charter Broker for Select Yachts as well, and can often be found making arrangements for a client’s next vacation!
Ms. Lynn Norris, a CPA and Penn State graduate, joins Select Yachts and Crew Solutions for bookkeeping and office management and is a bright new face to the industry.
Beverly Grant at Crew Solutions remains as her own separate identity, with the two offices able to work together to better assist owners for all of their charter and yacht services needs.
About Select Yachts
What's Happening in Paradise?
by Sam Fusco
Here are two very tempting specials during the month of September from my favorite Italian restaurant: La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano located in the casino at Princess Port de Plaisance Casino & Spa is offering a ComplimentaryBottle of Red Wine with your dinner. Likewise, it's sister restaurant, Esco Pazzo Pizzeria located on the promenade at Princess Casino is offering a Free Beer with every pizza you order.
Vacation Closings & Reopenings
Belmond La Samanna Resort & Spa will close for annual vacations and maintenance September 1st to October 31st or November 1st.
Lee's Roadside Grill located in Simpson’s Bay will close on September 7th for vacation and maintenance and will reopen on September 30th.
Leisure Car Rental St. Maarten, the Award Winning car rental agency, will not be closed for vacations and will be open all year.
Pizza Galley has just received their 2014 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Pizza Galley closed for vacations and maintenance and will re-open October 15th.
Random Wind Charters, located in Simpson Bay Lagoon, will close for two weeks September 8th to haul the main sailboat out of the water to put in a brand new engine. This will make the Random Wind better than ever.
Scuba Fun Dive Center located in Dock Maarten, Philipsburg, will not be closing for summer vacations. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here.
Holland House Beach Hotel located in Philipsburg is fully operational and actually quite busy and will be open all year.
L'Hoste Hotel and its restaurant, La Playa, which is located on Orient Beach will be open all year. La Playa Bar Restaurant with its private beach in front of the hotel offers an idyllic setting for breakfast or lunch in the shade of the palm trees caressed by the sea breeze. Enjoy the unique Beach Bar ambiance and savor cocktails on the beach until sunset.
Club Orient Resort located on Orient Beach will be closed for maintenance and vacations from August 17th reopening on October 6th.
Hideaway Bar & Restaurant located at (www.LaVistaResort.com) will be closed for maintenance and vacations for the month of September.
Le Petit Hotel located on the beach in Grand Case will be open all year. Read their TripAdvisor Reviews here.
Prestige Value Car Rental, (www.valuecarrental.com) with five locations on the island will be open all year.
North America, Strong April Result In 7.5 Percent Increase in 2014 Arrivals
Air arrivals at SXM Airport are up 7.5 percent for the first five months of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013. The figures were provided by the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau. June’s figures are not yet complete to give a half-year assessment of arrivals. The Figures lends credence to opinions of hoteliers that occupancy figures for 2014 are slightly better than 2013. Arrival figures increased every month ad in every source market that the destination targets. The 7.5 percent increase in arrivals was buoyed by an 11 percent increase in arrivals from the North American market, St. Maarten’s primary source market for visitors. For the first five months of the year, arrivals from North America totaled 165,178 compared to 147,055 in 2013. A very strong month of April also contributed to the 7.5 percent increase. April 2014 saw a 12 Percent increase in arrivals compared to April 2013. Arrivals in this month increased from 48,743 in 2013 to 55,337 in 2014. Much of this can be attributed to Carnival was at 91 percent in 2014, after coming in at 89 percent in 2013.
Increase Projected For Tourism Figures
The quarter year 2014 Macro-Monitor report Released by the Department of Economic Affairs, Transportation and telecommunication EVT shows projected 2014 increases in GDP growth (1.8 percent), cruise arrivals (2.0 percent) and stay-over tourism arrivals (3.2 percent). It also shows a projected unemployment rate of 11 percent and a decrease in the inflation rate of 2.2 percent. Both import and export values also are projected to increase, at 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. The global economy, including that of St. Maarten, in improving continuously, a trend expected to continue at a moderate pace.
More Direct Flights Offered From Canada
There have been positive developments in the Canadian tourism market to St. Maarten, including a number of extra direct available flights through Air Canada, Sunwing and Air Transat. The news follows that of 2013 being the best year to date in terms of arrivals from Canada, and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau securing a booth at the International Travel and Tourism Show SITV in downtown Montreal. Air Canada has added a second weekly flight from Toronto for 13 weeks in the high season; it now flies on Tuesdays in addition to Saturdays. Sunwing has added a new flight from Ottawa that will fly on Mondays during the high season. This is in addition to its four weekly flights on Thursday and Sundays from both Toronto and Montreal from late fall to spring. Air Transat has also added a new flight from Toronto on Sundays for the high season in addition to its weekly high-season flight from Montreal. Years ago, the airling flew from Toronto to St. Maarten year round, but it cut the flight schedule dlown to one weekly high season flight from Montreal shortly after Sunwing initiated flights to the island. WestJet also offers direct flights, three weekly from Toronto and one weekly from Montreal. “We are very excited about the growing support from our airline and tour operator partners in Canada; 2013 was a record-breaking year for arrivals from Canada to St. Maarten, and this additional air lift positions us well to continue this trend,” said Toronto based St. Maarten Tourist Office Representative Catherine Pentiricci.
Port St. Maarten Set for Major Milestones
St. Maarten Harbour Group of companies Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo in a press release on August 10th announced two Milestone for the port; it is expected to surpass St. Thomas for the first time ever in terms of number of cruise passengers, and it is expected to hit the two million mark. He also held a meeting on moving forward with Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and Member Of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger. The figures represent significant developments in St. Maarten’s cruise history. In 2013, St. Maarten received 1,785,670 cruise passengers on 631 vessel calls, compared to St. Thomas’ 1,886,647. This signified a 32,455 person increase for St. Maarten from 2012. From January to July 2014, St. Maarten received a record 1.2 million cruise passengers via 442 ship calls. In July, it received 119,121 passengers, compared to 95,684 in July 2013. In the three months leading into the off season (May, June and July) the Port received 337,023 cruise passengers, compared to 260,173 in the same period in 2013.
Nature Foundation Focal Point For Regional Nature Protection
Nature Foundation has been appointed as the Specially Protected Area of Wildlife (SPAW) Focal point for St. Maarten. The foundation will act as the focal point for assistance to government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in increasing the number, and improving the management, of protected and/or managed areas locally and in the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR). The foundation will support the conservation of threatened and endangered species and sustainable use of natural resources to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered, develop strong regional capability for information exchange, training and assistance, in support of national biodiversity conservation efforts among other activities with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Other biodiversity-related Treaties and initiatives, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora. Nature Foundation Is the mandated conserva-tion organisation tasked with the management of the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of St. Maarten. The foundation manages the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area – the Only national park – for St. Maarten.
4th TripAdvisor Excellence Award For Summit Resort
The Summit Resort Hotel announced June 27 that it had received a TripAdvisor Certiﬁcate of Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence world-wide, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. “Winning the TripAdvisor Certiﬁcate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at The Summit Resort Hotel and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor. There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certiﬁcate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of conﬁdence in our business and our continued commitment to excellence. We would also like to thank each and every one of our employees for their hard work and dedication to guest satisfaction which is what made winning this award possible,” said Owner Bruce Jakubovitz.
Princess Heights Designated For 4th Trip Advisor Award
For the fourth year in a row, Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Hotel has been awarded a TripAdvisor Certiﬁcate of Excellence award, a recognition only given to properties that are able to achieve high and consistent quality and service standards, based on reviews and feedback from travellers from all around the world. TripAdvisor, by far the largest online traveller review site, applies a patented algorithm in order to select properties that, among other factors, maintain an overall TripAdvisor “bubble rating” of at least four of ﬁve. Princess Heights has maintained a 4.5 bubble rating over four consecutive years. Owner and General Manager Emil Lee stated that receiving the exclusive award for the fourth year is “a testimony of our consistency in terms of quality and guest service and our commitment to always keep improving. This prestigious recognition is a wonderful validation of the countless hours that staff and management have invested to ensure that our guests enjoy lavish accommodations with world class personalized service.”
Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters
Correspondent: Jean Hager Rich.