Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell Doncher will lead a delegation from St. Maarten to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference and Trade Show. The event will be held in Merida, Mexico from October 23 to 27 and is the largest cruise conference and trade show in the Caribbean and Latin America.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Minister views the FCCA conference as “beyond crucial” in being able to re-assure St. Maarten’s partners in the cruise industry that the destination will be ready to provide a terrific experience for cruise passengers.
“The government and Port St. Maarten are very proud to announce to the world that Port St. Maarten will be open for business in November. Port St. Maarten, like the people of St. Maarten, is resilient in the face of natural disasters like hurricanes Irma and Maria. 2017 has put our capabilities and resilience to the test and we intend to pass this test with flying colors,” the Minister said.
“St. Maarten is a successful cruise destination because we‘ve listened to the cruise lines and we understand the business. Key to this business is the experience of our visitors who are very important to us. We have worked around the clock to ensure a great experience as we welcome you back to the Friendly island. Our port facilities have been the catalyst for the improvement and development of different areas of the island. We hope that potential cruisers will join us in forging a prosperous future by gracing our shores with their presence,” she added.
The FCCA conference will afford the Minister and her delegation, which includes officials from Port St. Maarten and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, the opportunity to interact directly with cruise line decision makers. It will offer one-on-one meetings, workshops, social functions, a trade show and more focused on gaining insight from and developing business and relationships with some of the industry’s most influential players.
These key players plan to participate in functions like special Trade Show viewings and the Conference’s schedule chock-full of opportunities to develop business and mutual understanding—from a private meeting with Ministers of Tourism to impromptu meetings with stakeholders and mixing and mingling with attendees and exhibitors at the Trade Show and nightly networking events. And a panel comprised of the cruise line brass will participate in a roundtable discussion as part of the Conference’s workshops.
Plus, key cruise executives from numerous sectors—including shore operations, port operations and development, itinerary planning, and purchasing and supply chain—will also attend special Trade Show viewings and networking events; lead workshops focused on understanding and maximizing their cruise tourism business; and even host one-on-one meetings pre-selected by attendees to gain personalized input and product promotion.
Or, as Micky Arison, Chairman, Carnival Corporation & plc, said recently, “The FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show puts cruise tourism stakeholders in the middle of the action. From tour operators launching their first tour to destinations building a new port, this is the place where decisions and developments are reached and relationships are made to pave the way for future business.”