St. Maarten Sees Spike in Cruise Arrivals, Hotel Occupancy

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau is reporting a rise in cruise arrivals as well hotel and timeshare occupancy for 2010 in comparison to 2009.

The increase in tourism stems in large part from the island's new commercial cruise port and continued overall development to the island.

With the ongoing growth of the new cruise facility - which opened in November 2009 - the port is now able to dock numerous ships at once reflecting in a 10-percent increase in cruise vessel arrivals in 2010. Consequently, more ships means more visitors and the port arrivals reached 1,512,618 passengers, a 24.5-percent increase up from 1,215,146 in 2009.

In addition, St. Maarten saw a boost in hotel occupancy by seven percent in 2010 while the average timeshare occupancy increased 14 percent.

"The increase in arrivals makes us optimistic and proud about St. Maarten as a whole," said Regina LaBega, director of tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, in a written statement. "We hope the effects of the global economy beginning to recover play a positive part in the growth of tourism to the island.”