Thousands of guests, hundreds of workers affected as COVID-19 forces Beaches Resort TCI temporary closure
#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – March 23, 2020 — Sandals Resorts International has had to close all 21 of its Caribbean hotels including its family all-inclusive resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands – Beaches Resort Villages and Spa – due to the travel industry free-fall following the disastrous impact of coronavirus, and the message from their board room is the industry and the SRI resorts will bounce back.
“Our view remains optimistic. Travel is resilient and so is Sandals Resorts. We are proud to be a brand that customers and team members can trust,” said Sandals Resort in a media release issued over the weekend.
Beaches Resort Villages & Spa in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos will close a week from today; March 30, 2020 just like the other 20 properties in countries namely: The Bahamas, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica.
The properties will remain closed until May 15, 2020, said the statement.
“We are saddened by the impact that COVID-19 is having on the world. If we could have, we would have remained open to welcome guests and for the benefit of our team members but airline disruptions and airport closures coupled with recent global health warnings have forced us to temporarily close.”
Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Sandals Chairman described the decision as ‘difficult’ for the company which employs well over 10,000 people across the region.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has infected nearly 250,000 people, with a death toll of over 15,000 worldwide is also an economic catastrophe.
Cruise ships, since early March discontinued sailings globally until April 30 and international flights last week began suspension of service, which will last until May.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government, on Friday announced emergency orders which take effect at midnight (March 24) and which bar inbound visitors at both sea ports and air ports.
Sandals Resorts, in that statement reminded that emergencies are nothing new for the company.
“We have been in business for nearly four decades and have seen our share of many kinds of disruptions, from natural events to various health emergencies. Right now, as we make this transition, our main priority is the health and well-being of all of our team members and valued guests. We will use this temporary closure to embark on various improvement projects both front and back of house, so that when the time comes, we can welcome guests with open arms and an even more elevated experience.”
It is reported that the TCI Government is broadening its economic stimulus plan; details have not yet been unveiled.
Millions to come from FSC
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Revenue from the Turks and Caicos’ Financial Services Sector will more than double in the next few years, if E Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister gets his way. It ‘s one of the reasons the country is investing so much capital into getting off of the EU blacklist and becoming a secure trustworthy financial destination.
“The FSC’s revenues for 2020/21 was $10.5M— the figures for 2021/22, would be about similar,” he said. He further explained that $10.5 million from the FSC represented about 2.6 percent of the country’s 408.5-million-dollar revenue. Though it increased to $14 million in the 2021/22 financial year, finance is still a small fry compared to tourism or even stamp duties but that will change, says Saunders.
“My revenue goal for the Government by the year 2029 [or] the election after the next election – is $500M. By that time, I want the financial sector (FSC) revenues to represent at least 5% ($25M). So that’s my goal for the financial sector by 2029.”
This goal, should it be met, would increase the Government’s revenue by 100 million dollars, a significant increase in spending power for local upgrades and improvements for Turks and Caicos residents and visitors.
Saunders says it’s time for the TCI to diversify its sources of revenue to make sure that what happened in the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw residents out of a job for months, will not happen again. Tourism now makes up around 80 percent of the country’s GDP. The Minister of Finance wants to push that down to 60 or even 50 percent.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
Women’s Health Connectivity and health a study for TCI’S benefit
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – As the country moves toward new fiber optic connectivity, bridging the digital divide could be a game changer for healthcare and other family-friendly services in the TCI.
The power of universal digital connectivity across countries was one of the recurring themes when the United Nations in partnership with the Network of Afro Caribbean Women and the Diaspora recently explored how technology, innovation and education are being used to address women’s health issues.
The session aimed to highlight success stories and explore how those processes can be replicated to help women and girls globally including in The Turks and Caicos.
The UN explained that despite holding a 70 percent majority in healthcare jobs, women are poorly represented in leadership roles and subject to systemic gender inequalities that can make receiving healthcare challenging.
As delegates from Chile and Rwanda, who were also partners in the session, shared the upgrades to their countries’ systems that had significantly improved the level of care available to their women, digital connectivity was a deciding factor.
In Rwanda the health ministries have begun to use drones to deliver medicine, SMS messages to alert about health threats and a completely digitized health care that eliminates paper documents for pregnant women and makes records accessible to any doctor, immediately.
Rwandan delegate, Rose Rwabuhihi shared tips that countries should keep in mind when trying to implement new processes to benefit women and the wider community.
- Partnership and sustainability are key factors to successful programs. She urged governments not to give up on projects or allow their partners to give up on them halfway.
- Education campaigns to introduce residents to the technology: “We need to build skills and deepen the knowledge so they can use the innovations that have been put in place especially in rural areas.
Poor connectivity and technological issues have plagued the TCI for years especially in the islands outside of Providenciales. Government has substantially acknowledged this disparity in communications services and is investing in a new undersea cable to augment services in the Turks and Caicos.
The UNs perspectives can now ignite a fire for even more family friendly, digital services.
In fact,Senator Yasna Provoste Campillay, the Chilean Delegate explained how connectivity and videoconferencing had been used to reach the county’s women in the most rural of areas. Chile is a long country, its landmass spread lengthwise creating unique communication challenges. While healthcare in Chile is separated by length the Turks and Caicos islands are disconnected by the ocean and solutions that prove useful for the South American country could well be worth implementing locally.
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