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Return of Cruises pushed to September-October start

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#Caribbean, June 23, 2020 – A buoyant billion dollar prognosis for Caribbean and Latin American cruising in 2020 has run aground and on Monday, regional countries learned that ships will not be returning to their ports until after September 15, 2020.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that it will cancel all North American sailings for August and September.  It had been hoped Carnival, with eight of its 27 ships, would resume operations on August 1.

“During this unprecedented pause in our business, we have continued to assess the operating environment and confer with public health, government and industry officials,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival president, in a letter sent Monday to passengers and travel agents.

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The Cruise Industry plumped up Caribbean and Latin American tourism by $3.36 billion in 2019, accounting for $902.7 million in wages to nearly 80,000 people. 

Yet, it cannot get its head above water as the Covid-19 crisis deepens with over nine million people across the globe having been infected with the new and potentially deadly disease.

The United States, which accounts for 11.9 per cent of the world’s cruise passengers, is the worst hit and cases continue to soar there in what is only the first wave of the pandemic.

The Caribbean and Latin America draw the bulk of cruise business at 34.4 per cent according to the 2019 Cruise Industry Overview, produced by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, FCCA.

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In good times, that is good news, in bad times the impact of the loss is dismal.

The Bahamas, in 2019 reported earnings of $405.8 million due to cruise arrivals; second behind Cozumel, Mexico with $474.7 million in this port alone.

The Turks and Caicos Islands derived $86.5 million from the calls at its Grand Turk Cruise Center, which has not seen a docking since March 6.

The list of destinations significantly dependent upon the industry goes on to include Jamaica, which in 2019 earned $244 million; Cayman Islands saw $224 million; St Lucia with $59.4 million; St. Kitts and Nevis, netted $149 million; while Puerto Rico recorded $151 million; the Dominican Republic drew $134 million and Aruba made $102 million in 2019 from cruise vacations.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, which brings the most visitors, has removed all summer sailings from its schedule, suggesting it too plans a return to business by October.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) just days ago announced that all of its members would voluntarily extend suspension of cruises in U.S. waters until September 15.

Already announced by other cruise companies like Norwegian Cruise Line, is, that all its sailings are cancelled until the fall.

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Bahamas News

Tropical Storm Owen in December?

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A low-pressure system observed in the Central Atlantic Ocean has led the National Hurricane Center to believe there is a 50 per cent chance a subtropical or tropical storm will develop. They reported on Tuesday,  the system was 800 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

NHC said that by Thursday or Friday, the system should move northeastward, where it will interact with a mid-latitude trough, thereby limiting the chances of development.

The potential subtropical or tropical storm would become the 15th named storm of 2022 and will be called Owen.

Here is the very latest forecast:

Central Subtropical Atlantic

Showers and thunderstorms have increased since last evening near a

large non-tropical area of low pressure located over the central

subtropical Atlantic about 850 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

However, the system remains embedded within a frontal zone, which is

expected to become more pronounced later today as the low begins to

move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters and

interact with a mid-latitude trough.  Therefore, while the system

could show some subtropical characteristics today, its chances to

fully transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone appear to be

decreasing.  Nevertheless, significant non-tropical development of

this low is expected during the next couple of days, and additional

information, including hurricane-force wind warnings, can be found

in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.  The

next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued

by 9 AM EST Thursday.

 

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.

 

Photo Credit: ACCUWEATHER

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News

Minister Doubles Down on need for Population Plan, says TCIs facing EXTINCTION

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 8, 2022 – After a firestorm of comments from residents across the Turks and Caicos regarding recent announcements that third generation TCI residents would be able to apply for citizenship, Minister of Immigration Arlington Musgrove now doubles down on the need for an intentional population growth or local islanders could go extinct.

He is now summoning patience and clarifying that more than TCI descendants in The Bahamas are being considered in the plan.

Acknowledging the polarizing nature of the announcement Musgrove said, “The simple truth is that the population of our country is growing by leaps and bounds year on year, through accidental status, if you will, work permit holders attaining PRC who are then naturalized as BOTC.  In the same token, Turks and Caicos Islander Status numbers have largely remained flat in comparative periods.”

He said through this type of naturalization the TCI is growing much too fast, at a rate of between four and five percent when the country should be maintaining a steady two percent rate.

“Even if we manage the rate down to two percent, it is projected that by 2040, the population will be near or about 50,000 with tight immigration control measures, but it is still estimated that Turks and Caicos Islanders will only be 15,000 in number, less than a quarter of the population, maximum.”

Describing this as unsustainable he cautioned that TCI citizens could disappear completely in the coming years.  “As a people, based on today’s birth and death records, could be near extinction if certain steps aren’t taken. So, we are looking at how this can be balanced.”

Musgrove reiterated that the new policy is in an effort to ‘strengthen ties with the diaspora and to welcome them as the first option for population expansion for the future.’

The intention is to amend the law to give these grandchildren and great grandchildren the right to become Turks and Caicos Islanders.

He explained that data was currently being collated by the Immigration and Population Council, tasked with developing a policy for the controlled growth of the population.

Any proposals made by the council he said, would be taken to public consultation in time, but something needed to be done immediately.

“As a Government– we are of the view that it is better to increase the number of Turks and Caicos Islanders with descendants of our own flesh and blood in the first instance, and then by other means – be it local child birth to foreign parents, or by grant.”

In the two weeks since the announcement, residents have cited anxiety over criminal records, and the dangers they think may exist from opening the doors to the diaspora.  To those concerns Musgrove said this,  “The Government is not deaf to the concerns of our people.  We understand that there is inherent risk in opening our country to further generations, but we must recognize that there is inherent risk in opening our doors to anybody.”

He made it clear this was open to all third generation TCI Islanders not just Bahamians and promised that immediate Turks and Caicos citizens would not be left out under any circumstances.  He promised more incentives for young people to remain in the TCI ,as well as incentives to encourage childbearing among Turks and Caicos Islanders.

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Caribbean News

Not long now, North Caicos Airport has equipment and staff says Minister

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 8, 2022 – Long awaited upgrades are finally being put into the North Caicos airport starting with a new terminal according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services who confirmed staff and equipment for the facility.

The Minister, who also oversees airports and sea ports, made the announcement at a November 29th town hall meeting in North Caicos, prompted by questions from residents.

“We’re sending out an IFP this week or early next week for the demolition and construction of a new terminal building.”

The minister explained that they had already acquired a firetruck and security guards were in the works for the new airport.  In addition air traffic controllers are being trained and firefighters were being secured as well.  He maintained this wouldn’t just be a government only airport as they were sending out multiple Invitations for Proposal.

“It’s not only the terminal building, there’s going to be an IFP for a Fixed Base Operator.  The FBO is going to be privately owned, customs and Immigration will be there from the government.”

In terms of how long it would all take Musgrove, who is the Member of Parliament for the twin island district said this, “We’ll start next year for the FBO but the small terminal building, as soon as we get the tender ready that’s gonna start.”

The minister also mentioned the new developments for Dellis Cay,  which he hoped would push traveller traffic on the islands.

 

Photo credit North Caicos airport:

PHOTO BY VISIT TURKS & CAICOS 

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