Saint Martin and Sint Maarten are ready to welcome back tourists, five months after the disastrous effects of Hurricane Irma. The split French and Dutch Caribbean island was devastated in September 2017, but is well on its way to recovery.
The areas that were covered in debris have been cleared, including important roads and popular beaches, such as the Marigot, Grand Case, and Philipsburg. Nearly all the households and hotels once again have electricity. The local tourism industry is more eager than ever to get back to normal.
Return To Normal
The first cruise ships returned to Saint Martin in early December of last year, and numerous villas are also available for rent. The two main airports, Princess Juliana International and Saint Martin Grand Case, are also open for business. Flights have begun returning to the island as usual. However, the terminal at the Princess Juliana. known for the famed beach landings to the airport, is still under reconstruction.
Earlier this month, the French side of the island celebrated a slightly shortened version of its annual Carnival. This popular expression of the cultural heritage of the island proved the resilience of its population. Over 60 restaurants and 300 hotels have also opened their doors. On the Dutch side, almost all the restaurants have been reopened. almost half of the 4000 plus hotels have also become available.
The small Caribbean island has been split between the French and the Dutch since 1648. The southern Dutch side is full of resorts, lively beach bars, boardwalks, and crowded casinos. It is also teeming with shops and museums. The quieter French Saint Martin, with its cliff-side houses, picturesque villas, and busy harbor is reminiscent of a Mediterranean village. The inland lagoon of Simpson Bay, shared by both sides of the island, is a truly breathtaking spectacle.
Though there is still a lot of work to be done until the island is back to where it was before, it is slowly bouncing back. Popular tourist activities, such as catamaran cruises, snorkeling, and diving, are operational as well. Major attractions like the Loterie Farm and the Rainforest Adventures are also opening. This rebound is essential to the island, where tourism accounts for almost 80% of the revenue.