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Tourists to Philipsburg come here for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is to shop. There are tourists who come directly to the island and stay here for their entire vacations, and there are also visitors who come via cruise ship. The people who arrive via ship usually dock in St. Maarten and spend the day in or around Philipsburg shopping for all sorts of unique items, jewelry, crystals, and other sorts of luxury items.
Visitors to the island are able to purchase expensive goods for much less than they'd find in most other countries all over the world. Some of the expensive items here cost about half of what they normally cost, so people have been known to travel here from all corners of the world just to shop. There is no duty on luxury items that tourists purchase here for the purpose of taking home.
Most of the shopping in Philipsburg is located on a street called, "Frontstreet." Since many of the tourists to St. Maarten are from the United States, the shops all tend to list prices in United State's dollars so that tourists don't have to go through the hassle of converting prices. The stores on Front Street range from small boutiques that carry very unique items, some of which were handcrafted by residents of St. Maarten. Some of the shops also carry quite expensive items like diamond jewelry at very reasonable prices.