POINTE BLANCHE--Port of St. Maarten will be participating in the 46th edition of the Dutch “Vakantie Beurs” (Holiday Expo), which takes place at the Convention Centre in the Dutch city of Utrecht January 12-17.
The island has been absent from the trade show for several years, resulting in a low brand awareness of St. Maarten in the Dutch market.
Vakantie Beurs caters to business-to-business, and business-to-consumers marketing, according to a press statement from the port. More Dutch travellers are becoming aware of cruises and St. Maarten has the largest and most developed cruise port in the Dutch Kingdom.
Approximately 109,000 Dutch travellers took a cruise in 2014. The proximity of Belgium and Luxembourg to the Netherlands, known as the Benelux, also allows travellers from those countries to visit the Holiday Expo and the two countries represented a total of 77,000 cruise travellers in 2014. The Benelux countries have seen their number of cruise travellers grow by 11.5 per cent on average over the five-year period 2010-2014.
Port St. Maarten will be partnering with Caribbean Luxury Club in having a destination promotional booth at the event. This expo fits into the Port’s destination strategy to penetrate the European Union tourist market.
For the 2015-2016 cruise season, last month Port St. Maarten received inaugural calls from three cruise vessels that cater to European travellers.
The Britannia (4,300+ passengers, 1,398 crew) is the largest ship built for P&O Cruises for the British cruise market.
The German cruise vessel Mein Schiff 3, owned by TUI Cruises, has 1,253 staterooms and 2,500 lower beds, along with a crew of 1,000. TUI Cruises is a joint venture of the German tourist firm TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
The third vessel catering to the European market is Magellan, the new flagship of Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), which homeports out of the United Kingdom and carries 1,250 passengers.
“Vakantie Beurs” Utrecht attracted 117,063 visitors over the six-day expo in 2015, 62 per cent of whom sought holiday information from five areas around the globe, including the Caribbean. There were also 1,259 participating businesses from 166 countries.