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St. Maarten’s Airport Nominated for PrivateFly’s “Most Scenic Airport Landing” for 2019

NEW YORK, NY (February 15, 2019) – Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) has been shortlisted for PrivateFly’s 2019 “Most Scenic Airport Landings” poll. An independent panel of travel industry experts and influencers curated this year’s shortlist of 32 airports from across the globe. The ultimate top 10 is to be voted on by the general public. Voting is currently open online and concludes on February 28. This is not the first time St. Maarten’s renowned airport has been nominated for the honor, having been included in the top 10 list every year since 2010.

“We would like to thank PrivateFly’s esteemed panel for acknowledging our airport’s stunning views once again this year,” stated the Director of Tourism of St. Maarten Ms. May-Ling Chun. “We thank those who vote for Princess Juliana International Airport in advance and hope to be featured on this prestigious list again this year.”

SXM Airport is world-renowned for its exciting plane takeoffs and landings, which take place just above the heads of beachgoers at Maho Beach. Voting can be done via PrivateFly’s website.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Port St. Maarten Reports Over 1.5 Million Cruise Passengers in 2018

New York (February 6, 2019) – Port St. Maarten welcomed a total of 1,597,101 cruise passengers on 489 cruise calls in 2018, reflecting a 29% increase in visitor arrivals year-over-year. The acclaimed cruise port saw a 30.3% increase from May through July, when cruise visitations to the island are typically a bit slower.

“St. Maarten’s cruise port has always been one of the best in the Caribbean. These arrival numbers don’t only reflect that fact, but also highlight how quickly the island has bounced back,” said the Director of Tourism of St. Maarten Ms. May-Ling Chun.

The latter half of 2018 also brought about the return to pre-Irma cruise arrival numbers. Port St. Maarten welcomed 646,431 passengers from September to December, indicating a 17.87% increase in arrivals from the same time period in 2016, a full year before Hurricane Irma.

“St. Maarten as a tourism product is set to come back even stronger and better than ever,” stated Stuart Johnson, St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport, and Telecommunication. “We look forward to continuing to welcome cruise passengers back to our shores with classic St. Maarten warmth and hospitality throughout 2019.”

Though 2017–2018 numbers year over year showcase a positive path of progression for Port St. Maarten, 2017 was generally a slower year for the port as it was not operational for the months of October and November.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada’s Tourism Sector Soars with Increased Airlift and New Development

St. George’s, Grenada W.I. – February 4, 2019 – Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean, recorded more than 500,000 visitor arrivals in 2018, a historic number that proves the three-island destination’s tourism industry is “one-to-watch” for 2019 and beyond. To match the growing demand, each section of the island can now be explored as tours and experiences are taking visitors to lesser known and untouched corners. In addition, restaurants across the island are using locally-sourced ingredients, providing increased opportunities for local farmers and business owners to thrive. For fans of the island and eager newcomers looking to discover this Caribbean gem, here are the latest news and developments from Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique:

VISITOR ARRIVALS PERFORMANCE 2018

Grenada saw an increase in visitor arrivals across the board with total visitor arrivals (528,077) growing by 12.9 percent year-on-year. The stayover arrivals (160,970) grew by 9.97 percent with the largest growth year-on-year from Canada (17,364) at 19 percent. The United States (75,577) saw a 12 percent growth and the Caribbean (28,990), a 7 percent growth. The cruising sector (342,826) saw arrivals grow by 14.49 percent and the yachting sector (24,281) grew by 10.82 percent.

AIRLINE NEWS

American Airlines added an additional flight on Saturdays from Miami International Airport in December 2018, which ends service March 30, 2019.

Sunwing launched 22 flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Grenada in December 2018 with service ending April 21, 2019. Packages with Sunwing include return airfare and airport transfers, accommodations at Starfish Resort Grenada or Coyaba Beach Resort, and the services of a Sunwing representative.

Air Canada added a third weekly flight in December 2018 from Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is offered every Tuesday. The service ends on March 26, 2019.

HOTEL NEWS

Calabash Luxury Boutique Resort has renovated its Beach Club restaurant to expose interiors to panoramic views of the beach and bay with new lounge furniture for a fresh, new look.

Green Roof Inn, located in Carriacou, has a new sea-front yoga pavilion as well as a newly constructed dinghy dock that allows guests to take water taxis to Sandy Island or Tobago Cays. The hotel also has a massage parlor with an on-site wellness ambassador, Kenya Lewis. La Playa Beach Bar & Bistro has live music every Saturday on the beach in Hillsborough and grilled lobster with a bonfire on special evenings.

Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort on Grand Anse Beach will open in two phases with plans for 92 rooms and suites as well as all amenities and services to be open in 2020 and an additional 120 to open by 2021.

Mount Hartman Bay Estate will open to the public at the end of January 2019 as a 16-bedroom private resort with three swimming pools, a 185-foot private dock, a large hot tub and a pool. Groups can book online between four to sixteen bedrooms with a full staff and meal plan as well as use of two on-site boats.

Royalton Grenada has announced its opening slated for December 2019 with 300 rooms, eight restaurants, a world class spa and a health and wellness program. Formerly The Grenadian by Rex Resorts, Royalton Grenada will renovate the entire property and will also include the option for guests to upgrade to butler service.

Secret Harbour Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Marina has gone through a renovation to its 20 cottages focusing on a more chic and modern design. Each cottage offers a stunning ocean view, balcony, living room, fully equipped kitchen, and king size bed. The on-site restaurant also underwent an upgrade with new furniture and décor, and is now named Sel et Poivre, with a newly appointed chef, Chef Bruno Deligne, from France. The restaurant serves French cuisine with local products and an ever-changing menu depending on fresh catches and seasonal offerings.

Silversands Grenada opened its doors on December 1. Its 43 suites and nine residential villas are situated on Grand Anse Beach and feature a minimalist design. Two dining venues, The Grenadian Grill and Asiatique, source local ingredients and spices as well as fresh catches. Guests can enjoy cooking classes at Asiatique to learn about Grenada’s local ingredients. A cigar and rum bar, Puro, overlooks the resort’s 100-meter long pool and entices guests to lounge while enjoying a rare rum and Cuban cigar. The Spa by Silversands is a unique sanctuary with four treatment rooms, a sauna, hammam and fitness center anchored around a private swimming pool and cabanas.

True Blue Bay Boutique Resort will open Grenada’s first environmentally friendly hotel rooms in February 2019, which will be 22 self-sustainable rooms with solar-heated water and ethically sourced wood for furniture wherever possible. Additionally, there will be three wheelchair accessible rooms as well as balconies with a view of the garden or bay.

HOTEL ACCOLADES

Calabash Luxury Boutique Resort was named Grenada’s Leading Boutique Hotel in the 2018 World Travel Awards. The hotel was also ranked number six in the top 25 luxury hotels in the Caribbean in the 2018 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards and most recently as No.1 Luxury Hotel in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor UK for 2019. Additionally, it was named No. 2 in the Top 25 Hotels – Caribbean by TripAdvisor UK for 2019. The luxury boutique resort was also invited to join the prestigious American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program in September 2018.

Sandals Grenada received three accolades from the 2018 World Travel Awards, which were the World’s Leading All Inclusive Resort, Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All Inclusive Resort and Grenada’s Leading Resort. Additionally the resort was named number 10 in the Top Caribbean Resorts category in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Spice Island Beach Resort retained the coveted AAA Five Diamond rating for its third consecutive year and was named among the top three “Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean,” in a new ranking by Fodor’s Travel and number four in the top 25 luxury hotels in the Caribbean in the 2018 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards. The resort was also named number 11 in the Top Caribbean Resorts category in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. In addition, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences also recognized the resort with a six star diamond award for the fifth year.

MARINAS

Camper & Nicholson Port Louis Marina is adding 90 plus docks, to its current 160 docks, by August 2019. The new docks will accommodate boats between 12 and 22 meters.

NEW TOURS

Hidden Treasures, a niche hiking tour company, has added new tours to its offerings that range from low to high intensity hiking. A completely customizable experience, the tours take hikers through beaches, waterfalls, farms, remote villages and rum distilleries while adhering to sustainable practices. The company is owned and operated by Simon Green, who is a hiking enthusiast and guide with more than 30 years of experience.

A new hiking tour company, Wondering Soles, aims to take visitors off the beaten path and away from the more well-known attractions to provide an immersive experience within Grenada’s natural environment. Starting at US $40 per person, each hike goes through a pre-selected route whether to waterfalls, up mountains, along the coast or down the river.

RESTAURANT NEWS/UPDATES

Opened November 2018, Spice Affair, located on Lance Aux Epines, is a fusion restaurant of Indian, Oriental, European and American Cuisine with the best flavors and spices. Notable dishes include the Butter Chicken “Loaded with Love” and the Dum Chicken Biryani with broiled saffron strands. Open for dinner every night, its hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are highly recommended.

Opening Feb. 3, 2019, Pier 57 is an event space fit for large events such as weddings and concerts.  Located just two miles north of the town of St. George’s, the space is on the Western Main Road and situated by the water’s edge.

One of the island’s popular eateries, Aquarium Restaurant underwent a complete refurbishment November 2018 which included a larger bar, new furniture, new lighting fixtures and open-concept kitchen. In the coming months, a new upstairs area with a bar, gazebo and private area will be added.

For more information, visit www.puregrenada.com.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Royal Schiphol Group on Familiarization Visit to SXM Airport

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (Sunday, February 03, 2019) – Top officials of the Royal Schiphol Group arrived at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), on Monday January 28, 2019 for a familiarization visit. The Royal Schiphol Group is the owner and operator of the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam, The Hague Airport and Lelystad Airport. The group also holds the majority stake in Eindhoven Airport.

Chief Executive Officer, Brian Mingo and Chief Operating Officer, Michel Hyman, of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), Managing Board, gave the Director of Schiphol International Airport, Roel Hellemons and Chief Financial Officer of the Royal Schiphol Group, Jabine van der Meijs, a tour of the airport facilities. Also participating in the tour was a delegation that included the newly-appointed Director of the Recovery Trust Fund, Claret Connor, and members of the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Affairs, BZK.

The walk-through tour offered an internal look at the Departure and Arrival halls (the “Package One – Temporary Operations”), on the ground floor of the terminal building. The delegation also received a close-up look at the ongoing roof works and the installation of the riverclack sheets, as part of the Phase two of the Roofing Project. The delegation was also briefed about the upcoming Phase Two remediation of the former Departure Hall in the upper level area of the terminal building. They were given an exclusive tour of the area, whereby members of the Project Management Team were made available to answer questions about the planning development.

The Royal Schiphol Group delegation noted in their first impression that the overall frame and structure of the terminal building was still intact. The duo remarked that SXM Airport made use of the correct avenues to accommodate the existing traffic flow. “Our visit to St. Maarten and the walkthrough tour of the airport terminal, have been very useful for us. We experienced a warm welcome from the entire airport team but also saw the huge damage that hurricane Irma has caused to a very beautiful and modern terminal building. We were impressed by the creative temporary solutions that the airport team has managed to find to facilitate the Departure and Arrival processes. We also realize that a lot needs to be done to get the whole terminal back into operation. We would very much like to support the airport management team with this big task where necessary and possible, by bringing the expertise we have as an experienced international airport operator,” stated the Director of Schiphol International Airport, Roel Hellemons.

“The purpose of the visit was to introduce Schiphol to PJIAE and our shareholders and to give them a tour of the situation of our airport. To have the Royal Schiphol Group assist the Princess Juliana International Airport and St. Maarten to restore its airport will become the next steps,” stated Brian Mingo. “When we merge our 75 years of experience with the resources from the Royal Schiphol Group who has over 175 years of experience, the Princess Juliana International Airport can only benefit from this collaborative effort. Schiphol also manages the Reina Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad, Aruba, John F. Kennedy International Airport and other international airports.”

The engagement with SXM Airport at first will be a review of the organization and the current “Package One – Temporary Operations” of the terminal building. The safety and quality aspects will be reviewed to ensure continuity and quality of the existing operations.

“After sixteen (16) months following hurricanes Irma and Maria, SXM Airport still has a long way to go, to reconstruct its existing terminal building. Funding and the actual project planning are yet to be completed but are essential for a successful result. Schiphol will also play an important role in the reconstruction phase,” Mingo concluded.

The Royal Schiphol Group manages approximately 2000 employees in a variety of specialized fields. The company is also known for its award-winning “Airport City” concept which encompasses real estate, logistics and airport concessions within the airport area.

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Contact: Audrey St. Luce-Jack; Corporate Communications Specialist; +1 (721) 520-3764; [email protected]

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Launches New Interactive Website

CASTRIES, Tuesday, February 5, 2019- The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) has launched its new website www.stlucia.org.  The new site, which features a fusion of video and images, captures iconic sites around the island.

The website ensures that the SLTA remains relevant and at the cutting edge of our technology. It includes new features such as a more user-friendly interface and simplified search capabilities.  Visitors to the site will now be able to search for tourism operators, activities and accommodations by classification and location. Additionally, viewers will be able to sort and search our in-depth Soleil Summer Festivals calendar of events.

The SLTA anticipates that the upgrades made and new features added to the website will drive more traffic to its homepage over the course of 2019.

Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Mrs. Tiffany Howard said; “With many travelers researching and planning for their vacations online, the new website will substantially improve our internet visibility. The site will also assist the SLTA with marketing and promotional efforts in the foreign markets. As the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination our romance offerings are also prominently featured on the site.”

Over the next few weeks, the SLTA will continue to develop the site with exciting new features, including viewing in other languages and adding more information and content.

The SLTA is the official destination marketing and promotion organization for Saint Lucia and proudly represents markets that include the USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany, The French Antilles and the Eastern Caribbean.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucia.org/.

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes.

Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. Saint Lucia is also home to world class cruise and yachting facilities. The island is continually recognized as one of the leading Wedding and honeymoon destinations worldwide.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Destination News

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Strong 4th Quarter Performance Signals Tourism Recovery

Roseau, Dominica – (February 01, 2019) The months of October to December 2018 produced arrivals of 22,178 from all source markets, representing 35.3 % of total stay-over arrivals for the year which stood at 62, 828. This is an increase of 95% over the same period in 2017. Increases were registered at 91%, 113% and 78% respectively during the last three months of the year compared to 2017.

The quarter also represents a marginal increase of 0.9% over the same period in 2016. November 2018 was the first month to show an increase over the same month in 2016, with an increase of 15.6 % over November 2016. Arrivals amounted to 5,271 which is the highest arrivals for that month over the past 12 years of reported data, representing a record for the destination in that regard. December figures showed that the upswing continued, registering a 6.7 % increase over December 2016 arrivals.

The year-end figure of 62, 828 visitor arrivals, represents a 13% decline over 2017 figures of 72, 228. This performance surpassed the projections given for countries which had suffered a natural disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Maria during the previous year, as expected declines are normally in the vicinity of 30%. In addition, the 2018 numbers represent only a 20% decline over 2016 arrivals which is also of significance.

The focus of DDA’s marketing and product development efforts for the past year was to provide current information on available product and communicate pertinent updates to all relevant publics.

Timely updates on the destination’s positive recovery efforts and stories of optimism were communicated to all relevant publics, internal and external to Dominica. Vicky Chandler, DDA’s Destination Marketing Manager indicates “We embarked on an aggressive communications strategy which saw the development of a separate website specific to destination updates; awareness and discount campaigns and a concerted effort in our Press outreach globally, hosting media from all of our main source markets and communicating outward via social, digital and print media to potential consumers as well as to our travel trade network.”

The cruise season was modified as a result of the passage of Hurricane Maria resulting in an 88% decline in arrivals in the first 6 months of 2018 vs same period in 2017.   However, there was a major improvement in cruise arrivals during the last two (2) months of the year.  The destination also recorded Cruise visitor arrivals in July, August, & September for the first time in 5 years which contributed to a total of 134,469 arrivals in 2018, a 14.4%  decline over 2017 (154,040).”

Minister for Tourism and Culture, Hon. Robert Tonge opines, “These figures are the direct result of the cumulative efforts of Team Dominica in many different aspects of the destination’s recovery. The government’s investment in site rehabilitation and enhancements along with the celebratory season which started with the exciting WCMF in October, through to Reunion and the 40th Anniversary of Independence in November were key drivers of interest among our loyal Diaspora market and friends of Dominica. The recorded figures augur well for the future of the industry and the people of Dominica on the whole.”

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, see Dominica’s updates on the tourism sector post Hurricane Maria: www.dominicaupdate.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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