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Turks and Caicos Islands Receives Safe Travels Stamp from World Travel and Tourism Council

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Photo of Aventine Villa, Turks and Caicos Islands

#PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS – October 22, 2020 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, the exclusive tourism authority for the Turks and Caicos Islands, is proud to announce that the destination has received the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).  The stamp of approval denotes the Turks and Caicos Islands’ existing safety protocols align with the core requirements established by the WTTC, along with governments and health experts, which are designed to standardize safe travel.

“We are pleased to receive the Safe Travels Stamp from the WTTC and feel certain this certification of our hygiene and safety protocols, combined with our TCI Assured program, will further build upon traveler confidence in safely visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said Pamela Ewing, Director of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board. 

“Our Safe Travels stamp is proving a great success and we are delighted to see even more popular countries and destinations adopt our global health and hygiene protocols,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO. “The success of the WTTC Safe Travels stamp shows its importance not only to countries and destinations but also, crucially, to travelers and the 330 million people around the world who work in and depend on, travel and tourism sector.”

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The WTTC health and safety guidelines were developed to adhere to precise guidelines from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Safe Travels initiative has also received the recognition and support of the United National World Tourism Organization.  To achieve the Safe Travels Stamp, the Turks and Caicos Islands ensured its safety guidelines aligned with the WTTC’s core requirements, including specific protocols taken behind the scenes and when welcoming guests.  These include, but are not limited to, urging proper physical distancing, enforcing capacity limits, ensuring proper hand washing techniques and sanitation, among other core ‘Safe Travels’ requirements.  

The Turks and Caicos Island Tourist Board encourages travelers to consider the Safe Travels vacation destination for 2020 and 2021.  The Islands’ award-winning hotels and resorts, private villas, restaurants and bars, and tour operators have reopened and are accepting bookings.

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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