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Island News

SXM Airport is Back in Business

julianaairportPrincess Minister William Marlin and Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication Melissa Arrindell-Doncher welcomed the first commercial flights to St. Maarten on October 10th, 2017, marking the re-opening of Princess Juliana International Airport SXM.  The two ministers were present at 7:50am to welcome the first flight.  A festive welcome ceremony was organized that included live music, women in beautiful Carnival costumes, giveaway items, finger-food snacks and cold beverages.  The special welcome was put together by the airport, the Tourism Bureau and Topper’s Restaurant for the arrival of Delta Airlines, American Airlines and the remaining flights for the day.  “We are very grateful and thankful for the support and your arrival is a sign of confidence in the recovery of St. Maarten,” Marlin said.


News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

St.Maarteners have Fun at USC Tropical Bonanza

sunrise at the beachSt. Maarteners and others with Caribbean roots residing in different cities in the Netherlands enjoyed the first Tropical Bonanza of the Unified St. Maarten Connection (USC) at Lindo Beach in  Scheveningen, Holland last week. 

The fundraising event, which aimed at bringing the Caribbean to the Netherlands, was a combination of USC’s flagship event Eats N’ Treats, combined with sporting activities.  In the past year, USC has regularly organized highly successful sports events in The Hague which served as a get together for mainly St. Maarteners and other Windward Islands. 

Indoor beach location stirred up a true Caribbean feeling, especially for the persons who are not able to return home for the summer, said USC Netherlands Chapter Director Christella Garand. 

Nature Foundation Organizes Shark Count

sharkcountAs part of the “Save Our Sharks” Project, Nature Foundation has organized the very first Kingdom Shark Count in cooperation with several local dive schools including Ocean Explorers, Dive Safaris and Dive Adventures. The shark count was executed simultaneously on all six Dutch Caribbean islands and in the Netherlands. The shark count contributes significantly to the Nature Foundation’s scientific research into the abundance and movement patterns of sharks in local waters.  The count also provides insight into the state of our shark population and seasonal and yearly patterns of sharks on valuable coral reefs.  Sharks are very important to the health of coral reefs, oceans and fish stock; therefore this research has great value for the Nature Foundation and St. Maarten.

News Courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Taloula Mango's/Blue Bitch Earns Back to Back Trip Advisor Awards


Taloula Mango’s/Blue Bitch Bar once again received a TripAdvisor Award of Excellence for 2017.  The Boardwalk Boulevard restaurant has been receiving the award since 2013.  Norman Wathey, co-owner of Taloula Mango’s along with his wife Su, pointed out that with 841 reviews Taloula Mango’s is among the most reviewed on the island.  “Much of the award has to do with staff.  They’re sincere, friendly, dedicated and a potpourri of the Caribbean.  Some staff members have been with us since we opened our doors on January 10, 2004.  Quite a number of the positive reviews mention the staff as family and the reason to go back to Taloula Mango’s,” stated a proud Su Wathey.

Rockland Estate Park Seen as Boost to St.Maarten Tourism


Rockland revved up its chairlift to offer a sneak peek into the country’s newest attraction to set to open around the end of summer.  Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Melissa Arrindell-Doncher, who experienced the adventure activity for the first time told the Press that as she stood on the viewing deck of Sentry Hill that this newest addition to the country’s portfolio will “definitely boost tourism” to the destination. 

She said, “It was amazing she said of the experience, adding that the product is well poised to market itself as a featured attraction.  The view on the way up and at the top could not have been imagines, she said, as almost every few metres reveal something different.  The views at certain point highlight Anguilla, St. Barths, Saba and St. Eustatius and Tintamarre.


Courtesy Caribbean Gems

United States, St.Maarten Sign Open Skies Agreement

The United States and St. Maarten signed a modernized bilateral open skies agreement that will continue to foster opportunities for air travel and commerce between the two countries.  This agreement modernizes the US-St. Maarten relationship by reducing administrative burdens on carries and governments, clarifying route rights and reaffirming mutual adherence to international safety and security standards.  The modernized agreement strengthens the partnership and economic ties between the United States and Sint Maarten.  It continues to preserve commercial opportunities and travel options for airlines, travelers, businesses, airports and localities, with unrestricted market access for passenger and cargo flights between the two countries and beyond. 



News Courtesy of Caribbean Gems

St.Maarten in Talks to Host International Film Festival

stmaarten film festivalMinister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Melissa Arrindell-Doncher will soon begin exploratory discussions to host an international film festival/film related event in St. Maarten. She explained that for the economy of a destination like St. Maarten, a film festival can be a great way to diversify St. Maarten’s tourism product and attract the luxury visitor and film writers from around the globe. 

She said, “Film fetivals attract tourits from all over.  A filmmaker will usually travel across the world to attend and promote a screening of their film.  It also attract media professionals and film fans who, if treated well will return home to rave about the festival and the country hosting it."