PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (Aug. 21, 2009) – Commissioner Frans Richardson, Director of Tourism Regina Labega, and Advisor to the Commissioner Fernando William, were a St. Maarten delegation that visited New York City this week for a series of tourism-related meetings at The New Yorker Hotel and other locations throughout the region as well as a special media luncheon.
During the press lunch event, which took place on Wednesday, Aug. 19, the St. Maarten delegation spoke with travel writers from various trade and consumer media outlets, including Bride's, Cruise Industry News, For the Bride, Jax Fax, Meetings & Conventions, Money Magazine, Newhouse Newspapers, Performance Media Group (TravelPulse.com, Agent@Home and VacationAgent), Travel Weekly, Wedding Dresses Magazine, and Working Mother.
Other publications were represented by contributing editors, including the Associated Press, Avid Diver, Big Apple Parents, Boston Herald, Bridal Guide, Budget Travel, Caribbean Escapes, Caribbean Living Magazine, Caribbean Travel & Life, City Guide, Crain's NY Business, Diversion, Elite Traveler, Hotels, Incentives & Meetings International, Luxury Travel Advisor, Mature Life Features, Modern Bride, New York Daily News, Ocean Style, OffBeatTravel.com, Passport Magazine, Promenade, Sherman's Travel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Travel & Leisure, TravelAge West, Travel Savvy and Woman's Day.
At the lunch, Commissioner Richardson discussed St. Maarten's tourism industry and his plans to help raise awareness of the island in key markets across the Americas and Europe. Commissioner Richardson also spoke of his plans to develop St. Maarten's infrastructure in an environmentally friendly manner.
Other meetings throughout the week included meetings with airline partners and tour operators designed to further St. Maarten's positioning as the most accessible and most value-oriented vacation destination in the Eastern Caribbean - a strategy that has proven to be a boon for the country's tourism industry.
At a meeting at the JetBlue Headquarters, the St. Maarten delegation urged the airline to increase its frequencies out of New York and Boston and look at the possibility of adding flights out of Florida. Airline officials assured Commissioner Richardson that the New York flights would be restored to the same levels as last fall and winter, but Boston could not have additional flights right now because of aircraft scheduling at this time, but that they would watch the demand and act accordingly.
The delegation also had very productive meetings with two of the leading wholesalers promoting the destination including Pauline Abatemarco, Senior Director Caribbean, and Gineen Gallo, Caribbean Product Manager, both with Travel Impressions, and Jenna Brunelli, Product Manager for LibGo Travel. These meetings are expected to produce an increased level of marketing and sales activity which will hopefully drive more visitors to St. Maarten.
All the meetings were organized by New York-based KTCpr, the new marketing and public relations company hired by St. Maarten.
St. Maarten is truly a unique island in several ways. It is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. St. Maarten is also the culinary capital of the Caribbean with an eclectic array of elegantly-perfected culinary fusion that keeps “food lovers” returning each year. And with more than 300 restaurants, the island has something for everyone.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions including the vastly abundant treasure of rare animal and plant species at the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden. The historically-pivotal Fort Amsterdam, the St. Maarten Museum and the picturesque and symbolic Mount Concordia, where a treaty and harmonious peace was forged between the island’s two cultures more then 350 years ago, provide other unique attractions.
The Dutch capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping and a bustling city atmosphere in the heart of the Caribbean, while nightlife activities provide endless entertainment at the island’s 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs. For water enthusiasts scuba diving and snorkeling facilities are located throughout the island, which boasts a wide array of marine biodiversity and unique underwater dive sites such as the H.M.S. Proselyte, a notable British frigate which sank in St. Maarten’s waters in 1801.
Accommodations are varied with many designed to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning traveler and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten from a number of U.S. and Canadian cities as well as Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
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