TCI News

TCI: Economic growth dips, tourism arrivals up, Change Document to diversification reiterated

#Providenciales, May 4, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The Turks and Caicos is far too dependent on tourism as a leading means of revenue and there are plans in the upcoming fiscal year by the PDM Government to fulfill more of their ‘Change Document’ promises for economic diversification. 

It was an early theme in the Budget Address by the Premier on Wednesday May 1; the 2019-2020 Budget is labelled “Delivering on Real Progressive Change”.

In setting up her premise for the direction of this budgetary year, it was revealed that seven percent of residents are unemployed in the Turks and Caicos and that figure will remain stable throughout this year; but early in her Budget Communication, Premier and Finance Minister Sharlene Robinson touted that stay over visitors and cruise ship stops are up for the islands.

“Although the unemployment numbers are relatively low in comparison to some of our Caribbean neighbours, my government understand that there are unemployed persons out there, we know that some persons are underemployed and we are exploring ways to ensure that our residents are able to earn a decent wage which will ensure that they maintain a high standard of living. Stay-over arrivals rebounded in 2018, with the tourist board estimating a growth in stay-over arrivals of 5 percent. Mr. Speaker, cruise visitors increased by approximately 23 percent in 2018. We expect continued growth.”

Though concerning, the Premier says there is no cause for alarm with the underperformance in economic growth for the last fiscal period; citing the TCI’s economy as strong. 

“Mr. Speaker, the Turks and Caicos Islands Statistics Department, real GDP projection of 3.2 percent for 2018 has been revised downwards slightly to 2.5 percent, which is 0.7 percentage point below what was earlier forecasted. This revision takes into consideration the slow pace in the execution of the forecasted public and private sector construction projects in 2018. Real GDP Mr Speaker is forecasted to grow by 3.8 percent in 2019 and see further increases in 2020 and 2021.”

When it comes to economic diversification, the Change Document of the PDM, is expected to influence new revenue streams. 

“The Diversification Strategy & Implementation Plan underscored the dominant role played by tourism in the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands. As such, the importance of economic diversification in the context of external shocks and natural disasters was emphasized. In so doing, alternative industries with the potential for economic growth were identified namely agriculture, fishing, health services, ICT and professional services. The export of services was identified as the best avenue for major economic growth with respect to small island economies. Mr. Speaker, we will continue to progress work in this area.”

The Premier and her team will action an approach to broadening how the Turks and Caicos increases annual income, and titled the effort the Diversification Strategy & Implementation Plan.

“The Diversification Strategy & Implementation Plan underscored the dominant role played by tourism in the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands. As such, the importance of economic diversification in the context of external shocks and natural disasters was emphasized. In so doing, alternative industries with the potential for economic growth were identified namely agriculture, fishing, health services, ICT and professional services. The export of services was identified as the best avenue for major economic growth with respect to small island economies. Mr. Speaker, we will continue to progress work in this area.”

Premier Sharlene Robinson’s 2019-2020 Budget presentation was a 3-hour speech.

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