POINTE BLANCHE--The Port of St. Maarten is attending Cruise Shipping Miami 2014 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the thirtieth anniversary edition of the cruise industry's premier annual event, set for March 10-13.
St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo was invited to be a panellist on Monday morning for the session, "How Can Destinations and Ports Maximize the Benefit of Cruise Tourism?"
Mingo said the conference was very important for destinations such as St. Maarten and the port would be looking keenly at the "State of the Global Cruise Industry," a panel discussion that will feature the chief executives of the world's four largest cruise corporations.
Cruise Shipping Miami attracted 93 new exhibitors in 2013; more than 40 per cent of exhibitors closed business during the show; 11,000 attendees walked the show floor; and more than 900 exhibitors from 123 countries participated.
"The four executives will inform the Port of St. Maarten and others who will be attending the conference about the current state and future of the business.
"At the moment you have a crisis between Ukraine and Russia and this could impact cruise operations in the Black Sea that is serviced by Costa, MSC, Azamara and Crystal cruise lines. We may hear about how this will impact cruising in that part of the world and will it result in those vessels being deployed elsewhere to other parts of the world due to the instability in that area.
"All in all, we are able to plan accordingly and in a strategic manner. The Port of St. Maarten does not sit by on its laurels. The Supervisory Board, Management and staff are always thinking ahead so we can remain at the top as a premier cruise destination. This reflects positively on our economy and maintains and creates jobs," Mingo said on Sunday.
The four panellists at the panel discussion will be Arnold Donald, Richard Fain, Pierfrancesco Vago and Kevin Sheehan.
Donald has been director of Carnival Corporation since 2001 and was named President and CEO of Carnival Corp. & plc in June 2013.
Fain has been Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. since 1988. The global cruise company owns Celebrity, Royal Caribbean International, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises, CDF Croisieres de France and the joint venture TUI Cruises.
Sheehan has served as CEO and president of Norwegian Cruise Line since 2008.
Vago served as CEO of MSC Cruises, overseeing the company's operations from its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2004 until he was named executive chairman in September 2013.