(BROOKLYN, New York) – St. Maarten received seven distinctions in USA Today’s 2019 10Best Caribbean Readers’ Choice Awards. The Friendly Island and several of its stakeholders were acknowledged across six categories, including “Best Island for Romance,” “Best Caribbean Restaurant” (Bistrot Caraïbes and Emilio’s), and “Best Caribbean Attraction” (Rainforest Adventures). The island was nominated for each list by Melanie Reffes and Chelle Walton, two journalists who specialize in the Caribbean.

“These awards truly highlight the diverse array of fantastic activities, restaurants and opportunities that our island provides,” stated St. Maarten’s Director Tourism, Ms. May-Ling Chun. “We are incredibly thankful for these honors and hope that these distinctions will prompt even more people to visit St. Maarten and experience everything our island has to offer.”

St. Maarten’s Topper’s Rhum Distillery received the first-place honor on this year’s “Best Caribbean Rum Distillery” list, beating out some of the world’s most famous rum brands such as Bacardi, Brugal, Appleton Estate, Angostura, Cruzan, Mount Gay and Barbancourt. In other food and beverage-related honors, two of St. Maarten’s restaurants, Bistrot Caraïbes and Emilio’s, placed fourth and fifth respectively on this year’s “Best Caribbean Restaurant” list, making it the only destination to receive two acknowledgments in the category and furthering the island’s reputation as a gastronomic powerhouse.

“These awards are a testament to the people of St. Maarten, whose determination and hard work continue to yield recognition and results,” stated St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunications, Stuart Johnson. “We often have the privilege of welcoming back visitors for decades in a row, and this array of acknowledgments truly speaks to that. The public, including those who have visited our island year after year, gave us these honors, and we are so thankful for their enduring support. Many thanks to everyone who voted for us.”

About The 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards:

The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is promoted across USA TODAY Today Travel Media Group’s digital and mobile products, as well as via social media and through Gannett media outlets. 10Best.com provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world, averaging 5 million visitors per month. Follow along on social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on at @10Best.

About St. Maarten:

St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations – Kingdom of the Netherlands and France – creating a destination with European charm and Caribbean flair. Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. Direct air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from major U.S. and Canadian cities. For additional information on St. Maarten, visit the official site of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau atwww.VacationStMaarten.com.

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