On Land TOURISM PARTNERS COLLABORATE TO ENSURE CONTINUOUS ENHANCEMENT OF SAINT LUCIA’S CRUISE TOURISM PRODUCT Saint Lucia added 261 certified customer service experts to its ‘frontline’ from May 7-8, when officers who interact with cruise guests and create their unforgettable experiences—including tour guides, taxi and tour operators, cruise agencies, immigration, port police and the health sector—took part in the Customer Service and Frontline Training Program by Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence. The training not only taught excellent customer service—focused on areas of the greatest impact on tourism and the cruise industry, community and partnerships, service excellence, cultural do’s and don’ts, creating product experiences, managing difficult situations, managing and minimizing risk, creating a culture of excellence and exceeding expectations—but also will ensure that the best practices are adopted, with the officers later evaluated in their respective lines of duty. “This training is about reinventing ourselves and becoming better ambassadors for Saint Lucia,” said Minister with Responsibility for Tourism Dominic Fedee. “It all begins with the first impression, and we appreciate the need to surpass our current abilities and to do much better than we are.” Another part of the destination’s continuous product enhancement and a joint effort by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Tourism, Invest Saint Lucia and the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, the training follows a record 2018 calendar year—with the destination welcoming 760,306 cruise guests thanks to an expansion at Berth #1 at Pointe Seraphine—and looks to build even more momentum for 2019. For more information about the island’s cruise tourism product, visit www.stlucia.org.
GUEST EXPERIENCE FLYING HIGH IN SINT MAARTEN New figures show Sint Maarten scored 9.3/10 for cruise guest destination experience, surpassing the 9.1 shared at the PAMAC Cruise Summit. Port St Maarten reported the news following Seatrade Cruise Global, thanking and crediting the hard work and dedication from partners in the hospitality industry to maintain and improve their products and services – along with new programs developed by TEATT in collaboration with partners like the Port to drive sales, improve the visitor experience and increase return visits. Some of those initiatives have involved direct work with Member Lines, including information sharing that laid the foundation for enhancements of the shopping experience (with future plans for onboard sales personnel to help drive guests to Front and Back Streets) and meetings regarding ongoing port improvements to increase demand. With guests’ clear satisfaction in the current product, experience and warmth of the people, the focus is on developing and enhancing attractions. A few of those new attractions are already teed up and flying high. The Pelican Peak Zipline just opened this spring. Located near Port St. Maarten, guests embark from the Pelican Peak landing area by vehicle on a guided adventure up a hill where guides will entertain with stories of culture and maritime and natural history before the thrilling plunge. The hillside also offers easy walking trails and several viewing decks overlooking Great Bay and neighboring islands. Additionally, Loterie Farm—famous for its zip line adventures—has ventured into other leisure activities for cruise guests, including the development of a par-three, nine-hole, state-of-the-art golf course set on a challenging terrain with varying elevations. The average distance between holes is 160 yards, the longest being 200 yards and the shortest at 85 yards. For more information about the destination, visit: www.facebook.com/portstmaarten or www.portstmaarten.com
CAYMAN ISLANDS BREAKING RECORDS & DIVING INTO IMPROVEMENTS Cayman Islands is rewriting its record book while reinvigorating its products. January marked the busiest month in recorded history for the Cayman Islands’ cruise industry, with a total of 271,111 cruise guests—a 24% increase compared to 2018—arriving in Grand Cayman, according to figures from the Department of Tourism. Air arrivals were also up significantly in January, with more than 40,000 visitors touching down at Owen Roberts International Airport – an increase of more than 5% compared to last year and another record for the island. In February, the destination welcomed 44,876 stay-over visitors in February—12% more year-over-year—along with 197,234 cruise guests in George Town following its century-high figure for January. Officials estimate that in the first two months of the year more than half a million visitors spent over CI$145 million on the island, fueled by the record-breaking stay-over guests – more than 86,000 in just two months. Then following its record for most-ever overnight arrivals in recorded history set in March—with 59,563 overnight guests and an 8.4% increase compared to March 2018—the Department of Tourism revealed yet another record: the highest number of stay-over visitors for any year’s first quarter since records began. Over 145,800 guests flew into the destination between January 1 – March 31 – an increase of 8.7% over the same span in 2018, which was a record-breaking year for overnight guests. Despite the record success, the destination and its people are not resting on laurels, and instead constantly focusing on upgrades, enhancements and new products. As part of those initiatives, Cayman Tenders added two new 250-guest tenders to their fleet—for a total of 14, all standardized for docking both at ship and piers and all wheelchair accessible—to shorten transport times and give guests more time on island. A new locally-owned tour operator, Cayman Sun Tours, is offering the Caymankind philosophy with tours providing meaningful information on Cayman’s cultural and maritime heritage and key historic sites on a sightseeing bus and walking tours from the George Town SECOND QUARTER 2019 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 51