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YES survey launched, Seeking 1000 Youth to participate

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A survey, two years in the making and designed to give the Youth an opportunity to tell the government exactly what they believe will make their lives better, what will broaden their horizons and deepen their commitment to nation building was last night launched at the Blue Haven Resort. 
 
The concept comes from Health, Agriculture and Human Services Minister, Premier Dr Rufus Ewing and when you go to his Facebook page, you can follow the link to take the Youth Empowerment Survey – anonymously. 
 
The team, which falls under the Department of Epidemiology & Dr Terese Maitland rolled out key elements of the YES survey which takes about 10 minutes to complete; they want 1000 young people to participate in the survey for results to be revealed during National Youth Month, this coming September. 
 
The Premier & the Minister of Education & Youth echoed similar sentiments that the survey will take the guess work out of forming Youth Policy; the survey results are touted to actually guide policy development.

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Turks and Caicos Islands Releases Preliminary Visitor Statistics, Depicting the Summer of 2021 as One of the Busiest Summers on Record

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#TurksandCaicos, September 28, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, the exclusive tourism authority for the Turks and Caicos Islands, is pleased to announce the preliminary visitor statistics for the destination, clearly depicting that the Islands saw one of its busiest summers on record in 2021. Compared to pre-pandemic statistics in 2019, the destination saw an increase of over 18% in June with 54,188 visitors, an increase of 19% in July increase with 56,022 visitors, and an increase of 15% in August with 41,734 visitors. These numbers exceeded all projection modules and are well above average in a normal economic climate. Taking into consideration the current economic conditions and travel sentiment caused as a result of the global pandemic these numbers are considered extraordinary. Tourism in the destination continues to flourish thanks to diligent safety protocols and strategic marketing campaigns in the United States, Canada, South America, United Kingdom and Europe.

These powerful statistics are due to a combination of factors, including pent up demand for travel during the summer, and the result of the Tourist Board’s strategic marketing plans to promote the destination as a safe destination, including protocols enacted to ensure that both the local and international population are protected during these challenging times. The Tourist Board has carried out aggressive public relations campaigns, including press visits with key publications to ensure that they tell the authentic Turks and Caicos story on a consistent basis. The current public relations campaigns also include radio campaigns in source markets, advertising and partnerships with key stakeholders, and executing the Tourist Board’s signature event, Turks and Caicos Conference (TACC), which updated key wholesale and airline partners, who drive millions on dollars in revenue to the destination, on updated protocols and accommodation availability.

These strategic promotions with key partners and the TCI Assured protocols to increase travel confidence, combined with the aggressive vaccine campaign spearhead by the Ministry of Health, has had a tremendous positive impact on the business that the Turks and Caicos Islands has received and confidence in the safety and security in the destination.

September is traditionally the slowest tourism month of the year for the Turks and Caicos and regional competitors, primarily due to it being the peak hurricane season in the Caribbean region.  Many of the destination’s hotels and restaurants take this opportunity to seasonally close for renovations that ensure the quality of the product remains consistent and it also allows staff members to take vacations, ensuing that they become rejuvenated for the busier winter season. While these predicted seasonal closers occur in 2021, information received from the Tourist Board’s local and international partners indicate that September statistics are pacing to be the same as 2019 and October statistics are currently pacing approximately 10% ahead of 2019. Booking windows are shorter than they have been in previous years, so while the remainder of the season will be impacted by the Delta Variant, we are working towards and hopeful for a busy and successful Festive season.

“I am pleased to see that our destination has performed so well, especially during the summer which has historically been the slow season for the Turks and Caicos Islands,” commented Minister of Tourism Honorable Josephine Connolly. “We enacted and enforced the necessary protocols to keep our local population and our visitors safe, which has resulted in excellent numbers and a summer that has performed above previous years. We are looking forward to a promising Festive season and are doing everything in our power to ensure that tourism, our main economic driver, is servicing our community and our travelling public equally”.

The Turks and Caicos Islands also continues to promote its vaccine campaign among residents, with over 70 percent of the adult population being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—making it one of the most inoculated countries in the world.

For more information on the Turks and Caicos Islands, call 1 (800) 241-0824 or visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com.  Follow the Turks and Caicos Islands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation Celebrates World Tourism Day

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#TheBahamas, September 28, 2021 – “This year, World Tourism Day has been designated as a day to focus on inclusive growth through tourism, which is quite poignant,” said Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “Like many Caribbean destinations, tourism is the heartbeat of The Bahamas and as we say, it is everyone’s business. Our beaches are breathtaking, and the water is so clear you can see it from space, but that is not what defines us. Rather, it is every individual person who shapes the Bahamas experience and stands to benefit from tourism’s success. I am committed to creating jobs and opportunities for all Bahamians and to help our great nation heal.”

As international travel restrictions begin to ease, spurred by an increase in vaccine accessibility, The Bahamas is well positioned for continued recovery. A rise in scheduled airlift combined with the return of the cruise industry is contributing to a positive increase in visitor numbers, leading to nearly 500,000 visitors over the first six months of the year.

“While we have faced an uphill battle during these unprecedented times, we must stay focused and optimistic as the world begins to reopen,” noted the Deputy Prime Minister. “I join with leaders throughout the Caribbean to elevate the importance of social inclusion, sustainability and smart destinations and businesses. Our beautiful country, and our beloved Caribbean region, will prosper again and continue to progress, as in the words of the motto of The Bahamas:  Forward, Upward, Onward, Together.”

 

Photo Credit: Sandals.com

 

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Bahamas News

Lyford Cay Foundations Award Academic Scholarships to 18 Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 27, 2021 – Eighteen Bahamians who are committed to making a difference in The Bahamas in fields ranging from mitigating climate change to ending physical abuse have been awarded generous undergraduate and graduate school scholarships from the Lyford Cay Foundations.

Today’s announcement of the names of academic awardees follows earlier news that for the first time in its 50+ year history, the Foundations saw the majority of successful applicants for vocational scholarships chose training and certification in medical or health-related subjects – perhaps inspired by the great health care needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Both groups, academic and technical vocational, were outstanding this year, making the work of the independent screening committees more challenging than ever and many of the students who applied were so impressive that they were also being offered substantial scholarships from top universities, all of which speaks for the quality and reputation of students from The Bahamas,” said Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle, Executive Director. “What was of particular interest this year is the common thread in their essays, almost like a fire burning in them – a desire to make a difference in The Bahamas when they return.”

One of those recipients, Empress Sears, a graduate of Sunland Baptist Academy in Grand Bahama, is off to study Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto with a William Birchall Scholarship. “An issue we as Bahamians should all be concerned about is the lack of attention given to our natural resources,” Sears wrote in her essay. “Our beaches, mangroves, pine forests, and coral reefs are in a state of peril….Overproduction of air pollutants has caused the temperature to steadily climb worldwide. The results of this come in the form of sweltering heat and devastating hurricanes. These effects play a major role in why our natural resources are under extreme stress. It is our duty as Bahamians to seek out the best possible methods to reduce the severity of these natural disasters.”

Two other recipients, Jasmine Adamson and Paul Roberts, plan to tackle the energy problem, focusing on renewables, Roberts at University of California, Berkley, and Adamson at Kettering University.

Another, Rhodricia Francis, was inspired by her own family’s experience to become a pharmaceutical chemist. “I believe that Bahamians deserve access to better treatments and medications,” she wrote. “As a pharmaceutical chemist, I will develop novel, effective drugs with minimal side effects and investigate more efficient methods to synthesize current drugs. Efficiency in drug creation will make medication more accessible to the general population.”

Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Basil Goulandris cited the variety of interests and ambition as “extraordinary.”

“Every year, we think how can next year’s applicants equal this year’s and every year, new applicants surprise us,” he said. “This year, the applicants showed interest in a wide variety of subjects that were very demanding and an extraordinary ambition to make The Bahamas even better.”

Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Tim Unwin agreed.

“When you look at the fields of study and the quality of the scholarship recipients for 2021-22, you have to feel that the future of The Bahamas is in good hands,” Unwin declared. “Upon their return to The Bahamas, these wonderful students will find many opportunities to give effect to their vision.

 The Foundations awarded $380,000 in scholarships this year to 26 new recipients in addition to the 27 ongoing scholarships allowing Bahamians to study throughout the US, Canada and the UK. The Foundations have awarded more than $50 million in education benefits to Bahamians along with helping to support non-profits, with an emphasis on those that contribute to education.

Recipients of this year’s new undergraduate scholarships include Paul Roberts – Physics at the University of California, Berkeley; Jasmine Adamson – Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University; Zion Virgil – Chemistry, Florida Southern College; Rhodricia Francis – Chemistry, Florida International University; Jaleah Taylor – Visual Arts/Communications, Media and Film, University of Windsor; Kiara Minnis – Computer Science Degree with Cooperative Education, Lakehead University; Ashanti Marshall – English and Art, St. Francis Xaviers; Shealyn Burrows – Chemistry, St. Mary’s University; Tyler Christie – Biology, St. Mary’s University; Dacacia Russell – Accounting, Mount Royal University; Chandler Darville – Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto; Alexander Baxter – Management, University of Toronto; Asya Johnson – Computer Science, University of New Brunswick; Empress Sears – Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto.

Those working toward graduate degrees include :  Leandria Albury – Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota; Felecia Campbell – Child and Youth Care, Holland College; Lemuel Johnson – Trumpet Performance, Western Illinois University; and Clarence Albury – Creative Writing, Witchita State University.

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