“When asked to identify the current issues of critical interest to hoteliers, the banks and non-bank communities were consistent in their views as they were last year. Airlift was again identified as the most critical issue cited by 88% of bank respondents and 100% of non-bank respondents.” KPMG Caribbean Hospitality Financing Survey
Saint Martin is one of the most easily accessible islands in all the Caribbean. Direct non-stop flights are available from Europe, departing both Paris and Amsterdam. Non-stop flights from the U.S. are scheduled from New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Newark, and Miami. Canadians access the SXM airport with non-stop service from Montreal and Toronto. Connecting flights facilitate one-stop service from virtually anywhere in the world.
As the major Caribbean Hub Airport, SXM provides air service from/to: Panama, San Juan, Santo Domingo, Port au Prince, St. Thomas, St. Barts, St. Kitts, Saba, St. Eustatius, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis, Antigua, Curacao, Tortola, Trinidad, and Guadeloupe.
Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) is located on the Dutch side of the Island, and is a quick 10 – 15 minute drive from the property. Capacity is 2.5 million passengers annually. Following Hurricane Irma, which hit the island on September 6, 2017, the commercial air terminal was recently rebuilt, representing a capital expenditure of $100+ million. Michel Hyman, the Chief Operations Officer of SXM, reports: “Long-haul flight frequency in the first quarter of 2019 will be at 81% of what it was in 2017, culminating in March 2019 at 98% of the level it was for the same month in 2017.”
A new General Aviation terminal, serving private jets, was completed this year. The FBO building is an upscale facility that caters to passengers who demand and are willing to pay for special service. Not only does the building set SXM apart as an airport, but it also hints at St. Maarten’s appreciation of the importance of the private jet industry. St. Maarten handles hundreds of private and corporate jets every year, with a peak in the Christmas season.
The United States represents the largest tourist market for SXM, accounting for approximately 50% of total passengers. Other Caribbean islands add about 30% of passengers, Canada 5%, with the balance arriving from Europe, and South America.
The traditional peak yachting season in the Caribbean typically runs from November to May, and is largely popular with American’s and Canadian’s looking to escape cold winter weather. Families visiting the Caribbean cruise throughout the year. Whether the Captain’s needs are repairs and maintenance, chef-friendly provisioning, secure anchorage during a storm, or simply a convenient location for owners and charter guests to meet their yacht for a Caribbean cruise, the island is a well-known and favorite port.
Located steps away from the sights and sounds of Marigot, the capital city of St. Martin, Marina Fort-Louis offers 150 berths for megayachts up to 260 ft. (80m). St. Martin’s Anse Marcel Marina was conceived to offer high-end service in a lush environment, with views looking toward Anguilla. The marina is recognized as a safe haven, offering very noteworthy protection during storms. It features 125 quayside and alongside berths for vessels up to 88 ft. (26.8m), with views looking toward Anguilla.
In Dutch St Maarten, IGY’s Simpson Bay Marina features 122 slips and accommodates vessels up to 190 ft. (57.5m). The marina sits at the epicenter of the island’s most complete residential and commercial marine center. This large scale development is hugely popular, with over 100 villas, 50 shops and offices, several restaurants, and a nearby collection of beautiful island beaches.
IGY’s St Maarten Yacht Club at Isle De Sol, is the island’s top club, exclusively designed for megayacht’s, owners and crew. With impressive facilities, and highly secure, the marina is ideally situated near the Simpson Bay Bridge. Offering berthing for 40 mega yachts up to 320 ft. (97m). On premises is National Marine Suppliers, specializing in chandlery and supply, and the ability to order marine products and parts from all over the world.
The Yacht Club Port de Plaisance is a full-service mixed-use marina, again located at Simpson Bay Lagoon. Sint Maarten has become one of the Caribbean region’s premiere service centers for professionally crewed yachts. Popular among captains, due to the proximity of high quality technical services for yacht maintenance, repair, and refit. There is an ample supply of marine tradesmen, including technicians, electricians, refrigeration-air conditioning specialists, as well as skilled day workers. Port de Plaisance caters to visiting yachts up to 250 ft. (76m).
The Port of Marigot on the French side, is located in the heart of this capital city. It is also where ferries depart daily to Anguilla (30 minutes) and St. Barts (90 minutes). Most larger cruise ships dock at the Port of St. Maarten on the Dutch side.
Cruise passenger traffic was up 15 percent for the first half of 2018, with 733,666 cruise passengers visiting the island between January and June. Port officials expect a stable off-season and even stronger 2019-2020 cruise season. The Port of St. Maarten is considered one of the most modern port facilities in the North Eastern Caribbean and plays an important role in island commerce.