Martinique is booming.
The French Caribbean department is seeing a significant increase in visitors from the United States and Canada, following a concerted push in recent years to focus on the North American market.
This year’s peak tourist season saw a 179 percent increase in visitors from North America, with just under 17,000, up from 6,071 in the 2014-2015 tourist season, according to data provided to Caribbean Journal by the Martinique Tourism Authority.
The jump has come from a number of factors, most notably the launch of nonstop flights from Miami to Fort-de-France on American Airlines, along with last year’s launch of nonstop flights on Norwegian from a number of northeastern US destinations.
The island is poised to build in these gains, with continued flight service and the launch of more new hotels.
Chief among them is the Hotel Simon, a new boutique hotel in the Fort-de-France urban core that includes a new eatery helmed by a Michelin-starred local chef, Marcel Ravin.
The other, French Coco, is set in the hills above the beach town of Tartane on the island’s Atlantic coast.
Martinique has also had success marketing its rum production with what’s effectively the Napa Valley of rum, with 11 distilleries making rhum agricole, or rum distilled from sugarcane juice, not molasses.
It’s all adding up to what’s becoming one of the more in-demand destinations in the Caribbean for high-income travelers from the US and Canada.