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Turks and Caicos is the fastest growing tourist destination in the Caribbean

THE TURKS and Caicos Islands is the fastest-growing tourist destination in the Caribbean, according to the latest statistical report from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

Turks and Caicos Islands

According to the CTO despite political uncertainties, security concerns and economic challenges in the country`s major source markets, stopovers to the destination grew by a robust 17.5 percent in 2016 totaling 453,612 arrivals when compared to 385,531 arrivals in 2015.

The CTO in a release issued on Tuesday, February 14, pointed out that the TCI welcomed and hosted some 1,300,575 tourists to its shores in 2016.
It noted that while the majority of arrivals were cruise-based, 2016 marked an impressive, fifth consecutive year of growth in stopover arrivals.
Further assessment of the 1.3 million arrivals in 2016 shows 453,612 visitors were stopovers and 846,963 arrivals came via cruise.
The Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board underscored that 2016 marked a record setting year for the destination; which saw for the first time some 400,000 stopover arrivals through our international airports and fixed based operations.
The release stated: “For a consecutive year, the destination recorded growth in each month of the year and within the overwhelming majority of its major source markets.
“The growth rate ranged from a 27.4 percent increase in stopover arrivals recorded in September to a 7.5 percent increase in December of 2016.
“According to the recently released State of The Industry Report 2016 from the CTO, tourist arrivals among the destinations showed uneven growth. Of the 28 Caribbean destinations reporting data for varying periods between January and December, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ 17.5 percent increase in stopover arrivals lead the region.
Besides the TCI 4 countries, Belize, Cuba, Guyana and Bermuda reported double digit growth rates.
“Six destinations experienced declines in stopover arrivals.”
On par with the rest of the Caribbean, the TCI`s strong performance in 2016 was primarily supported by the sustained economic growth and relatively low oil prices in the United States, the country`s leading source market.
“Regionally there were over 14.6 million visitors from the U.S. according to CTO’s report, 3.5 percent more than the previous year.
“CTO attributed the region’s performance to solid economic growth, a low unemployment rate, and high consumer confidence in the U.S.
“Of the 28 destinations in the region reporting data, the Turks and Caicos Islands were among one of seven destinations recording double digit increases within the period, outdone only by Belize.”
On the other hand, while the destination continued to boost its stopover arrivals in 2016, for a consecutive year cruise arrivals took a downturn.
“The Grand Turk Cruise Center greeted a total of 846,963 cruise passengers, an 8.9 percent decline in cruise passengers’ year-over-year.
“Similarly, for a consecutive year the Cruise Center also welcomed fewer ships, hosting 284 compared to 317 ship calls in 2014; this marked a 10.4 percent decline in ship calls year-over-year.
“The month of March showed the most significant growth rate in cruise passengers and ship calls to the Grand Turk Cruise Center, recording an increase of 25.6 percent and 13.3 percent respectively.
“The month of December saw a total of 97,799 cruise passenger arrivals, the most arrivals in any given month of the year, a 4.8 percent increase when compared to 2014 despite a 2.8 percent decline in ship calls for the month.
“October saw the largest decline in cruise passenger arrivals and ship calls to the destination helped by an active 2016 hurricane season.”
The CTO highlighted that although the Turks and Caicos Islands was spared the wrath of Hurricane Matthew, regional neighbors sharing the same itineraries as Grand Turk such as the Dominican Republic, Haiti and The Bahamas were significantly damaged.
“Cruise passenger arrivals to Grand Turk decreased by 38.9 percent while ship calls were down by 44 percent in the month of October.”
The CTO further highlighted the ongoing saga with Carnival Cruise line and locals and urged that the matter be resolved in timely manner to rebound Grand Turks cruise industry.
“There is no secret that grave challenges continue to threaten the cruise industry in Grand Turk.
The ports underperformance for the consecutive year is an indication that an agreeable solution to a list of unresolved matters between Carnival Cruise Lines.”
Outlook
According to the release, 2016 was undoubtedly another successful year for the main revenue earner and top industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands despite the raise in the level of global uncertainty.
It was noted that while global uncertainties such as the implications of Brexit or any unforeseen events could still impact the performance of tourism in 2017 and beyond, the outlook for the destination remains strong.
To this end, the Turks and Caicos Islands recently saw the debut of several new hotels in winter 2017, led by the ultra-luxurious resort The Shore Club and the boutique offerings of Beach Enclave North Shore, both on Providenciales, as well as, the barefoot luxury of Sailrock resort on the undeveloped island of South Caicos.
“These new resort openings, coupled with the recent announcements of Blue Cay Estate, a new luxury waterfront villa collection to be operated by the award-winning Grace Bay Resorts slated for first phase completion in mid-2017 and the debut of Beach Enclave Long Bay expected in late 2017, are welcome increases to the room inventory of the destination.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands recently received a boost in its accessibility for potential visitors in mid-December 2016 as United Airlines introduced a nonstop flight on Saturdays from Washington D.C. to Providenciales, opening a new gateway to the destination.
“The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board and its partners will continue to increase the destination’s presence within the market place by embarking on a series of travel and trade shows.
Traditional and non-traditional media strategies, sponsorships, and promotional events in the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America will also continue.
The Board has renewed its commitment to working with wholesalers, hotel partners, airlines and cruise to sell the destination.
In addition, the Turks and Caicos Islands is working to expand its hotel and tourism product beyond the traditional hub of Providenciales and Grace Bay Beach to the other beautiful islands, as demand for additional accommodation, attractions, and niche offerings has increased.

Source  By Olivia Rose

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