Tourism Office, Sandy Ground - Saint-Martin’s delegation to the 2015 FCCA Conference is back on the island after what was termed a successful round of meeting with FCCA and cruise ship company officials in Cozumel last week.
The 2015 FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show gathered some 1000 professionals from the cruise industry for meetings, workshops and networking sessions. In addition, executives from 100 cruise lines were on hand for the event.
During the two day conference, President of the Tourism Office, Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool was able to meet with the FCCA’s Operations Committee as well as executives from several cruise lines. The main purpose, according to the Tourism Office President, was to provide the executives with information about the future plans for the Marigot Harbor development as well as discuss future cruise ship arrivals to Marigot. The President outlined to cruise ship executives, among other information, that the call for tender for the Marigot Bay development project is due to commence at the end of 2015. She also provided information on the timeline that has been outlined by government for the construction and start-up of the cruise terminal and other related structures. Mrs. Rogers-Vanterpool said in an invited statement that, “We were able to have frank discussions on the plans that the Collectivité has for the Marigot Bay development as well as future possibilities for cruise ship arrivals to Marigot in the short and medium term. Discussion included the measures that would be put into place for the reception of cruise passengers beginning in the New Year as well as other priorities for both the industry and the government.”
Beginning in January of next year, cruise ship arrivals in Marigot are expected to improve significantly, with an average of two cruise ships per week through the end of the high season, ending in April of 2016. Traffic is scheduled to increase once again beginning in December 2016. “We are working very hard to improve our arrival numbers over the coming years. The work that we put in now is important since cruise ship arrivals are booked two years in advance. The FCCA executive has been very helpful to us. So far, with the help of the FCCA President, Mrs. Michele Paige, we have been able to arrange private meetings with several cruise company executives. We need to increase those contacts and solidify agreements. This is very important if we are to meet the targets and the priorities that have been set out in the Tourism Master Plan and our goals at the Tourism Office, Rogers-Vanterpool said.
In preparation for the new cruise season the Tourism Office has partnered with the association headed by Paul Whit, to train several guides, whose job would be to escort cruise and other visitors arriving in Marigot to historical sites and shopping destinations. The Office is also scheduled to soon begin construction of a “Visitors House” on the Marigot waterfront where tourists can get directions, shopping and other information. The rest of 2015, the Tourism Office President indicated, will be used to fine tune the arrangements that are already in the pipeline to improve visitor reception in Marigot for the short term.
Members of the Saint-Martin delegation included: President of the Tourism Office, Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool; Territorial Councilor and Member of the Port Authority, Louis Fleming; Territorial Councilor and Member of the Port Authority, Jean-Phillipe Richardson; Director of the Port Authority, Alberic Ellis, Taxi Association representative and Member of the Tourism Office board, George Illidge; Emile Louisy Canadian, Cruise and Yatching market manager at the Saint-Martin Tourism Office; and Employee of the Port Authority, Nadia Williams.