PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (May 18, 2011) - 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% 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% increase up from 1,215,146 in 2009.
In addition, St. Maarten saw a boost in hotel occupancy by 7% in 2010 while the average timeshare occupancy increased 14%.
"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. "We hope the effects of the global economy beginning to recover play a positive part in the growth of tourism to the island," LaBega added.
St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. As "the culinary capital of the Caribbean," St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island's 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island's scuba diving and snorkeling facilities. The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a bustling city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.
Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
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