By the Caribbean Journal staff
A year after Hurricane Irma, St Maarten is still very much in recovery mode — but its all-important tourism sector is beginning to see a turnaround, according to new data from the island’s tourism board.
The island has received a total of 74,474 stayover visitors so far in 2018, officials said this week.
While that is far below the destination’s typical pre-storm numbers, it represents strong growth, with the second quarter of 2018 showing a 9.8 percent increase compared to the first quarter.
Visitors from the crucial United States market have increased every month since November 2017 as well.
St Maarten’s cruise port, on the other hand, has seen a dramatic comeback.
The port has welcomed a total of 944,152 cruise passengers so far this year, ahead of last year’s total by 1.67 percent.
On the hotel side, more and more properties have reopened their doors, particularly on the Dutch side, while a number of popular resorts like the Sonesta Maho Beach and Ocean Point will be reopening for the winter season.
And while St Maarten’s iconic Princess Juliana International Airport is still being renovated, the island has also seen a broad return of airlift, from American Airlines’ additional daily flights to the relaunch of flights from carriers like United and Spirit.