FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, NY – Following the Caribbean’s severe hurricane season, the Martinique Tourism Authority is thankful to remind American travelers that the island has emerged totally unscathed from powerful storms. Martinique was able to welcome visitors right after the storms with all businesses up-and-running, including hotels, B&Bs and villas as well as restaurants and tourist sites.
The island has reported a 149% increase in the number of U.S. visitors between 2015 and 2017, and Martinique expects to welcome even more Americans this upcoming season. With up to 21 weekly flights from North America, improved air service and enhanced options of villa and hotel properties, the Isle of Flowers rolls out the red carpet for its U.S. guests.
INCREASED FLIGHT ROUTES
Norwegian air, following two successful winter seasons of flying from the North Eastern United States to Martinique, has recently launched two new routes to the island from Providence’s T.F. Green Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, since October 30th. The airline has added to its previous service a fourth weekly flight out of New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, along with its new twice weekly service from Providence and a three times weekly air schedule from Fort Lauderdale.
Air France has been operating its new Atlanta - Fort-de-France, Martinique route since November from its Sky Team/Delta hub. Travelers have benefited from twice weekly flights: from Atlanta (ATL) Tuesdays & Saturdays – From FDF Wednesdays & Sundays.
American Airlines, which operates year-round nonstop service from its Miami hub, has seasonally increased its flights up to 6 flights per week. Air Antilles has also introduced year-round direct flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
To accommodate the influx of travelers to the island, a new hotel property is set to open winter 2018. Past meets present with the famed Diamant Les Bains, built in 1945 as the first tourist hotel in Martinique. Completely rebuilt and planned to open in early 2018 as a four-star establishment, the property will feature five bungalow suites, 33 spacious studios equipped with kitchenette, a new bar-restaurant on the beach and a modern swimming pool facing the Diamond Rock.
The Slave’s Savannah is a historical site that recreates a Maroon village, a village of escaped slaves. The Slave's Savannah--a five acre site— is located in the countryside of Trois-Ilets in the area of La Ferme near the forest. The heart of this village offers the chance to discover the history and way of life of fugitive slaves. Visitors will discover, through building techniques, original production methods and the savannah’s not to be missed medicinal garden, the ingenuity and resourcefulness of these extraordinary communities. January 20th will mark the inauguration of the much anticipated 1200-seat amphitheater and the cultural institution. Visitors can expect to experience traditional dances every Saturday with performers adorned in brightly colored costumes and revel in the history of Martinique. Further programming at the Slave’s Savannah will be announced later in the year.
In the fifth edition of the Caribbean Journal’s Rum Awards (2017), Martinique rums garnered five awards out of the 12 categories: Rhum Agricole of the Year: La Favorite Privilege 1999 Cuvee Andre Dormoy; Best New Rhum Agricole: Rhum Neisson** Collection Armada Millesime 1991; Rum Company of the Year: Habitation Saint Etienne, Martinique; Best White Rhum Agricole: A1710 La Perle Rare B69-56; Best Bottle Design: Rhum JM Edition Limitee. **Neisson is a pioneer in Martinique and the first producer to craft organic rums. Neisson has just celebrated its 85th anniversary.
Speaking of design, in 2017 the Rhums Clément produced the world’s most expensive rum bottle. In collaboration with Place Vendome Paris jeweler Maison Tournaire, they created a diamond & gold studded stopper, topping a Baccarat Cristal bottle containing 1966 Habitation Clément rum, which sold for $110,000. A portion of the proceeds were donated to an association fighting sickle cell.
December 17th, 2017 was the 35th edition of the annual Rum Festival, the joyous rum fest of the Saint-James rum estate which is located in the northern half of Martinique.
INCREASED CRUISE OFFERINGS
Martinique is growing its cruise activities, expecting 365 port calls and over 600,000 passengers for the 2017/2018 season. Due to the successful efforts undertaken by the public and private players of the Martinique cruise industry, the Isle of Flowers as a home port boasts one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Caribbean. All industry partners are constantly improving their facilities and quality of welcome, including those of the islands ports and airport. As a result and for this upcoming season, home port cruises will represent one third of the number of cruise passengers.
The number of cruise passengers is also on the rise. Thanks to the growing interest of cruise lines, the terminal of La Pointe Simon, located at the heart of Martinique’s capital, Fort-de-France, will welcome over 100 port calls this season. The early 2018 inaugurations of the first shops of the new shopping center of la Pointe Simon will also contribute to the site’s appeal
Also, moorings in front of the towns of Anses d’Arlet, Marin and of Trois-Ilets are very sought-after by smaller luxury ships that as a result will make over 40 stops.
UNSPOILED MARINE WILDLIFE Martinique plays host to a unique niche diving market with over 22 dive sites, 44 diving structures of clubs and associations and a cornucopia of untapped wreck sites with optimal diving conditions in the bluest waters in this region.
One of the highlights of Martinique’s extraordinary diving sites includes the Saint-Pierre wrecks, offering one of the Caribbean’s most accessible undersea journeys back in time. Once known as The Paris of the Caribbean, Saint-Pierre was converted into The Pompeii of the Caribbean when Mt. Pelée volcano erupted in 1902, destroying the city and a number of ships docked in its bustling harbor. Out of this destruction was born an amazing array of wreck diving options. Eleven ships, dating from the 19th century, are now resting in depths ranging from 50 to 265 feet offering visitors a unique window into Martinique’s rich historical past.
Among the more notable wreck dive sites off of Saint-Pierre is the Canadian cargo ship, The Roraima. The largest of all Saint-Pierre wrecks, The Roraima measures nearly 400 feet in length, 82 feet in width and 131 feet high. For novice and experienced divers alike, Saint-Pierre wreck dives offer an amazing opportunity to experience the rare adventure of multiple sunken ships in one concentrated area. The historical significance of the wrecks adds to the wonder, making it one of the most rewarding dive destinations in the entire Caribbean. And most recently, la Réserve Naturelle Territoriale Marine du Prêcheur (Natural Maritime Reserve of Le Prêcheur) has been created and classified to shelter two exceptional sites, Ilets La Perle and La Citadelle, and to preserve and protect 12 km of coastline along the town of Le Prêcheur, at the foot of the majestic Mount Pelée. This natural reserve entitled Albert Falco, named after the captain of Calypso and close friend of Jean-Jacques Cousteau, is a haven of marine biodiversity.
The Martinique Tourism Authority is pleased to announce that the port of Le Marin - the largest marina in Martinique, was awarded the distinction of five marine rings**, the highest ranking of the Quality Marina Award bestowed by the French Federation of Marinas.* With top-notch environmental infrastructures, the marina is located in the well equipped and dynamic town of Le Marin in the South of Martinique—Caribbean side, on one of the island’s most beautiful bays of the same name. And because of its environmental focus and accomplishments, La Marina Marin has also been rewarded with the Blue Flag for the 11th consecutive year.
The Quality Marina label is an exclusive label for marinas and is part of the FFM*-Odyssea strategy with the objective of evaluating these ports and improving their quality to the highest standards of infrastructure, equipment on-site, services and welcome.
From a ranking between1-5, the Marin Marina obtained level 5, reflecting the excellence of its services. It is one of only two ports—out of 320 French ports—to have ever attained this national level of distinction. This seal of excellence is not only a prestigious reward for the marina team and its “captain,” CEO Simon Jean-Joseph, but also for all stakeholders. “We are extremely proud of Simon Jean-Joseph and his team and what he was able to achieve at Le Marin Marina, the largest marina in the South Caribbean.” said Karine Mousseau, the Martinique Tourism Commissioner. Ms. Mousseau went on to say: “It is the perfect example of the overall efforts of the island’s tourism industry to consistently improve the quality of its services and strive for excellence, in order to assure our guests the best possible experience and stay in Martinique.”
**The Quality Marina Award’s “star” system
A NEW SPORTING EVENT
Later in 2018, Martinique is set to embark on its first international nautical sporting event, the International Martinique Flying Regatta. The general concept is that of an annual event, bringing together the most beautiful series of foiling or hydrofoil sailboats* – primarily GC32 catamarans. Martinique seeks to welcome new visitors to the island that posses a keen sense of maritime adventure!
*A sailing hydrofoil, hydrofoil sailboat, hydro sail or foiling sailboat is a sailboat with wing-like foils mounted under the hull. As the craft increases its speed the hydrofoils lift the hull up and out of the water, greatly reducing wetted area, resulting in decreased drag and increased speed.
The entire team of the Martinique Tourism Authority wishes you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year that we hope will include a visit to Martinique Magnifique.