Island to host agent seminars

NEW YORK -- Tourism officials from St. Maarten/St. Martin are teaming with suppliers to promote the destination to U.S. travel agents this spring with a series of breakfast and dinner educational seminars.

Sessions with officials, hoteliers and U.S.- and island-based suppliers will focus on infrastructure improvements, events, new airlift and access, and growing niche markets.

On the infrastructure and hotel front, agents will learn that St. Maarten/St. Martin has made recent strides with the opening of the Philipsburg Marketplace, the Simpson Bay Bridge and the Isle de Sol marina.

Other efforts include the Harbor Point Village initiative in Philipsburg, the new Marina Fort Louis in Marigot and a hotel and villa development on Orient Beach.

The seminars also will highlight recent hotel and resort developments on both the Dutch and French sides of the island.

Event updates will cover Carnival celebrations, to run April 15 to May 3; the annual St. Maarten/St. Martin Annual Regional Trade Show (SMART), from April 23 to 25; and the Caribbean Offshore Race (from St. Maarten to St. Kitts and back), scheduled for May 16 to 18.

In addition, island officials will discuss their new focus on the growing yachting segment.

On the airlift front, the destination is teaming with Delta Air Lines and Delta Vacations to promote the carrier's nonstop service from Atlanta, which launched in December.

Seminars are scheduled for the following dates and cities:
• March 31: St. Louis, Chase Park Plaza, at 6 p.m.
• April 1: Louisville, Ky., Executive Inn, at 8 a.m.
• April 1: Cincinnati, the Westin Cincinnati, at 6 p.m.
• April 2: Lexington, Ky., Hilton Suites of Lexington Green, at 8 a.m.
• April 2: Nashville, Sheraton Music City, at 6 p.m.
• April 3: Birmingham, Ala., Birmingham Marriott, at 8 a.m.
• April 3: Atlanta, J.W. Marriott, at 6 p.m.
• April 4: Marietta, Ga., Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, at 8 a.m.

The free seminars are open to all prequalified agents. For reservations, call the St. Maarten Tourist Office in New York at (800) 786-2278 or the St. Martin Tourist Board at (877) 956-1234.

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