Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT), the Honourable Stuart Johnson welcomed the news of the daily direct service between Amsterdam Schiphol and St. Maarten that will commence this winter. "Through hard work and strategic planning and marketing we have been able to see marked increases in load factors coming out of St. Maarten which have contributed directly to KLM not having to stop in Curacao," said Johnson. He lamented that for many years, the daily service between Europe and St. Maarten has been missing, and looks forward to being able to welcome this service. Today, air transport plays a leading role in helping families stay connected, allowing businesses to access products and services and aid vacationers in their exploration of the world. He said, "Filling the void with air service between Europe and St. Maarten seven days a week will provide more opportunities and benefits for all. I look forward to continued dialogue with our partners in KLM/Air France, as we work towards securing high load factors for the two weekly flights and build the market for sustainable daily service."
"As a destination that depends heavily on visitor arrivals, we stand ready to support efforts to stimulate the return of this service. This service will further amplify our message that St. Maarten is open for business," said Johnson.
“The relationship between Sint Maarten and KLM goes back a long way and always has been very important for KLM. KLM was deeply affected by the Hurricane that hit Sint Maarten and surrounding islands 1.5 years ago and has since then tried to keep the island connected to the Netherlands with a flight via Curacao. We are happy to be able to go back to 2 weekly direct flights on Fridays and Sundays starting Winter 2019 between Amsterdam and Sint Maarten and with our Partner Air France creating a daily connection. This step was only made because of the good work on Sint Maarten with great progress in reconstruction and making the island an even better place to experience your ideal holiday” - Daan Pijzel, Director Commercial Air France KLM Benelux
St. Maarten is a neighbour to some of the Caribbean's most pristine islands, Saba, Statia, St. Barts and Anguilla. The return of KLM's service comes at a time post-Irma when the SXM Airport can offer a wide variety of highly reliable connections to these destinations for day trips giving guests a chance to explore more islands in one vacation.
The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau carried out various co-operative marketing campaigns with KLM in the past in order to increase awareness of the destination and to stimulate sales. Besides this, a multi-media consumer marketing campaign was recently completed in the Netherlands and Belgium that provided the destination with much needed exposure. The European market is, and will remain a vital source market, since Europeans tend to travel mostly in the summer periods that will help combat seasonality.
“We are pleased to see the results of continuous communication and meetings with our airline partners. The return of two direct flights for St. Maarten will not only service our destination with better airfares, but also service the neighboring islands perfect for island hopping” “ Our objective will be to promote the destination not only as the two nation vacation, St. Maarten/St. Martin, but also promote the island hopping concept to Saba, St. Eustatius, Anguilla, St. Barth to name a few”. Says Interim Director of Tourism, May-Ling Chun.