POINTE BLANCHE–Port St. Maarten officials, along with two Members of Parliament (MPs) and government representatives met with Sir Richard Branson of the United Kingdom-based Virgin Group and Virgin Executives Tom McAlphin and Craig Milan on Wednesday.
The meeting dealt with possible investment opportunities for Branson in St. Maarten.
Branson plans to launch Virgin Cruises in 2020 with the aim of delivering a unique and differentiated approach to cruise tourism for the millennial traveller. The first three ships will set sail from Port of Miami.
Branson was given a water taxi tour of key attractions around Great Bay. The tour left Captain Hodge Wharf, passing Walter Plantz Square and Fort Amsterdam to end at the tender jetty at Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities.
Port Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mingo informed Branson that Port St. Maarten was looking forward to welcoming Virgin Cruises in 2020. An agreement to bring those cruises here is expected to be formalized by year end.
Branson, Mingo said in a press statement, was informed about the country’s affairs as a cruise destination. “He was impressed with our facilities and very interested about our plans for future growth,” said Mingo.
The meeting with Branson was an opportunity to inform, and, at the same time, look at attracting more cruise business to increase arrival numbers, said Mingo.
Aside from Port Management, the meeting was attended by MPs Frans Richardson and Maurice Lake from Parliament’s Permanent Committee for Tourism and Economic Affairs, Senior Executive from Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs Alex Dijkhoffz, and Chairman of the Port Supervisory Board of Directors Humphrey Meas.
Branson’s visit to the Port concluded with a luncheon in the Cruise Terminal Building.