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St. Maarten Ranks 4th In TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards Among Top Destination In The Caribbean

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PRESS RELEASE #135


PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (May 10, 2010) - St. Maarten has ranked fourth in the latest TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards "Top 25 Destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico."

One TripAdvisor voter raved, "Get the experience of visiting two island colonies in the same 37 square miles. Saint Maarten/Saint Martin's spicy marriage of Caribbean, French and Dutch cultures matches its physical diversity: the island is both urban and untamed, with rain forest-like landscapes, white beaches, and amazing caves and wildlife."

TripAdvisor is one of the largest online travel communities in the world. It began its TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Destinations Awards in 2008 to "honor the world's top destinations, earning their distinction from those who know them best 'real travelers.'" In its inaugural edition, Philipsburg, St. Maarten was chosen as the third best vacation destination in the world, with only Milford Sound and Queenstown, both in New Zealand rated above it.

Last year when the Awards focused primarily on properties, Hotel Esplanade Caraibes in Grand Case was ranked number 7 in the region among the "Best Hidden Gems of the Caribbean and Mexico."

"This is the third consecutive year in which our island has been chosen among the elite vacation destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico by those who matter most, real travelers. We are grateful for the over 10 million vacationers who've given their unbiased opinions about places they have actually visited," noted Commissioner of Tourism, Frans Richardson.

"This honor is a testimony to the continued hard work of all stakeholders, particularly those who come in direct contact with the visitors - the taxi drivers, bell boys, waiters and waitresses, receptionists, etc.," Richardson continued, adding "the St. Maarten government will continue to work even harder to ensure that every visitor that touches our shores leaves with the most memorable vacation experience that will make them recommend our island to others."

Director of Tourism, Regina LaBega, noted that although the island had slipped slightly from the number one ranking it achieved in 2008 when the first TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards were announced, "it is still very remarkable that millions of travelers were impressed enough to choose the destination among the very best in the region, where competition for tourists is very fierce."

Hugh Riley of the Caribbean Tourism Organization described the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards as "of particular importance to the Caribbean as they reflect the unfettered opinion of our guests without provocation or persuasion."

"We want to impress our guests with an authentic Caribbean experience that can't be duplicated elsewhere in the world, whether they are looking for the perfect family, romantic or luxury getaway. This recognition proves that we are doing that and we thank our loyal guests for making their voices heard on our behalf," Riley concluded.

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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