PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (Nov. 19, 2012) - The friendly island of St. Maarten continues to prove itself as a preferred destination for travelers with a 7% increase in passenger traffic during the first seven months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, exceeding the world average of 6%.
The figures, revealed during the Strategy Summit held at the World Routes conference in Abu Dhabi, show that St. Maarten has held its own despite the economic and financial challenges faced by nations around the globe. Compared to 485,936 total enplanements from Jan. 2011 - July 2011, the Princess Juliana International Airport saw an increase to 520,018 total enplanements during the first half of 2012.
Various airlines servicing the island also revealed that they are showing healthy load factors for the country, with some expressing the performance of their St. Maarten routes exceeded company expectations. JetBlue announced that the performance of its San Juan to St. Maarten route during the slow period was better than the airline had anticipated, while United Airlines noted that its extended seasonal service surpassed expectations. Delta, the third largest airline in the world, reported that its load factor to the island was a very healthy average of 90%.
"As a destination that focuses many efforts on tourism, we are thrilled with these figures," said Augusto Priest, interim director of tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. "We will continue to work diligently to promote St. Maarten as a destination of choice and that would enable us to increase passenger traffic," he added.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the management of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) participated in the St. Maarten delegation at the conference.
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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