Expedia Study Shows St. Maarten as Fastest Growing Caribbean Destination

After experiencing a significant spike in North American passenger traffic in the first half of last year, the friendly island of St. Maarten (http://www.VacationStMaarten.com) is pleased to announce its best year ever for Canadian tourism with an overall 14.5% increase in visitor arrivals from Canada during 2013 compared to 2012. The island is also the fastest growing Caribbean destination, according to a study done by Expedia.


The figures reveal that St. Maarten continues to prove itself as a preferred destination for travelers in North America and around the world. The Princess Juliana International Airport saw a total of 554,858 arrivals in 2013, a 1.9% increase from 544,752 arrivals during 2012. Of the total visitors in 2013, 52.7% were from North America while Canadian passenger traffic increased from 40,426 arrivals in 2012 to an all-time high of 46,300 in 2013 an increase of 14.5%.


"It is an amazing feeling to know that more Canadians than ever before are getting to know and love St. Maarten as much as we do," said Catherine Pentiricci, sales and marketing manager for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau in Canada. "We sensed the St. Maarten buzz through interaction with travel agents and consumers, and now it's great to see that buzz translate into our best year ever for Canadian arrivals to St. Maarten," she added.
American Airlines led in passenger arrivals from the North American market to Princess Juliana International Airport, followed by Jet Blue and U.S. Airways. Air travel from Canada has been made possible through year-round service out of Toronto with Canadian partners including Sunwing, WestJet and Air Canada Vacations.


Further establishing itself as a favorite location for travelers around the globe, Expedia released statistics from the first three quarters of 2013 proving St. Maarten to be the fastest-growing Caribbean destination with an overall growth percentage of 35% from the same period in 2012.
"St. Maarten attracts travelers from all over the world wishing to experience our unique island rich with beauty and culture," said Edward Dest, interim director of tourism for the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. "Our success this past year reinforces that St. Maarten is still a favorite travel destination for vacationers worldwide and motivates us as we continue to grow and prosper in 2014," he added.


St. Maarten
St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair.  As "the culinary capital of the Caribbean," St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.


Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island's 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions.  During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island's scuba diving and snorkeling facilities.  The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.
Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts.  Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

Find St. Maarten on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VacationStMaarten and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StMaartenTravel.  For more information, visit www.VacationStMaarten.com.

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