TCI Economy could lose $460 million in Tourism job cuts and slashed salaries, says TCHTA & KPMG survey
#TurksandCaicosIslands – May 7, 2020 — Tourism sector employers in the Turks and Caicos Islands believe they will have to gradually decrease basic salaries to their staff and may eventually have to lay-off workers, up to 44 per cent of them, as the COVID-19 crises continues to paralyze the travel industry.
The shocking findings herald a possible collapse of the Turks and Caicos economy and are revealed in a survey conducted by KPMG and commissioned by the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association, TCHTA. Compelling statements and suggestions are made to the TCI Government about possibly decreasing the economic disaster which looms now, due to the unprecedented pandemic.
An excerpt from the survey report says: “If the effects of the pandemic are thought to continue for another six months the monthly fall, based on monthly payroll data of respondents, will be US$46m which for the period April to October represents a cumulative fall (including April) in economic activity of approximately US$300m.”
Stretch out any continued negative impacts on travel and tourism due to the Coronavirus, the Turks and Caicos could see economic activity usually enjoyed due to the employees resident within these islands, plummet by as much as US$460m over nine months.
More than 5,600 employees are represented in the report by a range of employers who were surveyed from April 12-20; the cumulative pay for this sampling of workers in hotel and tourism is estimated at $11.9 million per month.
While there is no concrete number of how many TCHTA members were included as the source of the survey data, KPMG informed that 48 per cent of those surveyed had between one and 20 staffers; 31 per cent of responders employ between 21-100 people; twelve percent of the employers have from 101 to 500 staff members and nine per cent of those who completed the survey questions, employ over 500 people.
It was revealed that since the impact of the pandemic on this tourism destination, fifty-six percent of employees were retained, 30 percent were furloughed or temporary laid off and 14 percent have been terminated.
Currently the islands have zero tourists with all ports of entry closed to visitors during the public health crisis; so the leading industry is already in dire straits. The KPMG survey exposes there is still more ground to loose however, including the loss of spending by the employees from the country’s leading industry.
Food shopping to rent to fuel and school fees, dining, banking, services, utilities and entertainment will all suffer tremendous decreases in business activity if 44 percent of the industry workers are laid off and if the remaining 56 per cent are not able to receive their full pay.
KPMG explained it this way: “… it is clear from the survey results that the percentage of base pay being paid in April is not sustainable. Fifty-nine per cent of employers indicated that at the end of April they will have to reduce this percentage of basic pay which will reduce the level of economic activity even further particularly when taking into account the 44 per cent of the workforce that will be let go shortly.”
One solution put forth in the document is a government supported staff retention program.
“Seventy per cent of employers indicated they would be willing to contribute to some form of a Coronavirus staff retention program (“the program”) which would be a program, ideally backed by new legislation, which ensures current employees continue to be employed and receive some pay even though there may be no work for them for a certain period. Employees would also have their continuity of service maintained. They would not be considered to be unemployed. The program would be voluntary with “Participating Employers” and “Non-Participating employers.”
With tourism salaries contributing as much as $55 million per month to the country’s GDP, according to the survey, there is an unequivocal message being transmitted: that Government’s support of a staff retention program would mitigate the severity of further fall out in the face of COVID-19.
In the end, it is stated within the TCHTA and KPMG survey report: “No economy the size of TCI’s can sustain such dramatic falls in economic activity.”
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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