SMART Kicks Off In St. Maarten, Island Up 7.9 Percent

PHILIPSBURG, St. MaartenTravel Agent is on hand for the ninth annual SMART tradeshow where we attended a press conference Wednesday and learned that St. Maarten is up 7.9 percent in air arrivals for the first quarter of this year.

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau is reporting that visitors from the United States rose 6.4 percent for the first quarter versus the same time frame in 2009. The first quarter of 2010 also saw a boost in hotel occupancy by 5.7 percent.

The average timeshare occupancy during the first three months was 83.3 percent. Cruise passenger arrivals for the first quarter totaled 542,012, a slight increase from the 541,023 passengers who arrived in 2009.

Between January and March, St. Maarten’s total air arrivals reached 160,908, up from 149,065 in 2009. U.S. visitors accounted for 47.5 percent of the total air arrivals at 76,430.

The Bureau attributed the first quarter growth from the U.S. market to the launch of its new branding campaign in November of last year.

SMART officially kicked off with an opening ceremony last night and concludes tomorrow. The Bureau says that 27 buyers and 50 suppliers attended this years event.



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