#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 24, 2020 — Less than 72 hours after the Turks and Caicos celebrated a jubilant reopening of its borders to tourism came the unsettling announcement by Beaches Resort Villages & Spa; the resort today revealed that it will not reopen until October 14.
Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC) is the country’s largest private sector employer; said to have some 2,000 staff members.
While the statement, made earlier today, is distressing for the team, which has not seen a regular paycheck since March, the implications on air travel to Turks and Caicos is far reaching in its impact on employees and employers across the country.
Beaches Resort accounts for 70 percent of long-stay visitor arrivals to the Turks and Caicos; these are the guests who fill up the airplanes of major carriers like: American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, United Airlines, West Jet, Air Canada, South West Airlines and British Airways which run regular commutes from Providenciales (PLS) to popular hubs in North America and Europe.
James McAnally, General Manager of BTC today confirmed the worst fears of many.
In a media statement, Beaches said, “We know all too well the tremendous fallout the closure of Beaches would have in terms of employment, revenue, airlift and the overall economy in the TCI, and we wish to assure our valued guests, team members and stakeholders that we are sparing no effort to have the resort ready to receive guests well ahead of the popular Christmas season.”
Other resort properties and partners in the tourism industry realize this decision, forced upon Beaches Resort by the unplanned, unprecedented Covid-19 outbreak worldwide, could and likely will have a harrowing ripple effect.
It is possible that airlines could decrease frequency in flights or worse, cease operations altogether until Beaches Resort is reopened.
Beaches (BTC), in that statement, clearly recognizes how essential its operation of 750 plus hotel rooms has on the tourism and travel sector.
The executives of the resort give good effort to offering a bright side perspective, which is that the sprawling family all-inclusive has no intention of pushing its opening back any further.
“…this announcement will provide an important signal to the airlines who can now start planning on recommenced scheduled airlift to the Turks and Caicos Islands, a major boost for the overall industry and economy.”
The problem is, with the global impact of Covid-19 being felt in the worst possible ways, it is hard to celebrate Christmas in July.
For some of the Beaches team members who tell Magnetic Media they have not yet been directly informed by the resort of its decision, two and half more months of no work and little pay, if any, is depressing and distressing.
One staff member reported having a “near panic attack.”
Covid-19 is not to be taken lightly.
It is a potentially deadly virus which has now infected 16.7 million people in the seven months since its dastardly debut in January 2020.
The hospitality and travel industries have been shattered by the contagion which demands that people do not touch each other; that they remain distant; that tends to thrive on most surfaces; which is highly infectious; that disguises itself as the common cold; it debilitates its human host by sometimes severely sabotaging its respiratory system and which has no vaccine to date.
Nearly 650 thousand people have died from the coronavirus.
The implications of resuming operations at one of the Caribbean’s largest resort properties are not lost on Beaches or onlookers.
On any given day, thousands of people can be found on the property, booked for vacations which give them access to over 20 restaurants, six outdoor pools, a waterpark, adventures and tours, spa, twelve bars, four luxury resort villages which cover 93-acres on the world famous, Grace Bay Beach.
“As anyone can imagine, this is no small undertaking due the many variables of cost, size and sheer magnitude of the resort; however, we have always kept our promises to the people of the TCI, and we intend to do so again.”
In the statement, Beaches Resort admits it will be reliant upon its staff to be TCI Assured certified opening day. “It is to this proven and dedicated team that we entrust our highly touted Beaches Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, explicitly designed to ensure the strictest health and safety measures. Guests can rest assured therefore that when our doors open on October 14, you will be in the safest hands and will be taken care of by a team that is unmatched in its level of training and development.”