St. Maarten posted a 7% jump in passenger traffic from January through July, compared with the same period in 2011.

Visitors arriving by air totaled 520,018, up from 485,936.

Carriers serving St. Maarten reported healthy load factors. JetBlue said that passenger loads on its San Juan-St. Maarten route during the slower months from May through July were better than expected; United reported that its seasonal service "surpassed expectations"; and Delta posted average loads of 90%.

"As a destination that focuses on tourism, we are pleased with these figures," said Augusto Priest, interim director of tourism.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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