“Great Enthusiasm” for Cruise Return Says New St. Maarten Tourism Minister


If you’re a frequent cruiser, you’re no doubt familiar with the island of St. Maarten. The island is poised to make a huge tourism comeback post-COVID and cruising is going to be a big part of it.

Porthole Cruise and Travel Founder and Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff met up with newly sworn in Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication Roger Lawrence to talk about the optimism radiating all over the island about the return of cruising. 

“Through the return of cruise, we’ve already seen great enthusiasm, hope within our people back home in St. Maarten. As you know Bill, you know very much that cruise tourism contributes, represents one third of our GDP and that is key,” Lawrence said. 

What really has the people of St. Maarten hopeful is that with the return of cruising comes the return of jobs for local citizens who rely on tourism to make a living. 

“The mere fact that we can put our people back to work, contributing to their Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that level of self-actualization is a positive thing, Bill,” Lawrence continued. 

When asked about changes he might implement now that he’s Minister of Tourism, Lawrence made it clear he was focused on bringing the island to the top of the Caribbean tourism food chain. 

“Bill, the main thing right now, my main objective is repositioning St. Maarten as a leading destination, the number one destination in the Caribbean. That work has already started. The vision needs to be a holistic vision. All parties need to be a part of it as we propel the destination forward and reach our level of self-actualization and it’s a positive thing,” Lawrence said.  

If you’re planning a Caribbean vacation in the near future, don’t skip out on St. Maarten! The tourism recovery is already underway and things are looking bright!