TCI News

Change again, Beaches Resort TCI to open FIVE WEEKS from now; 113 days since date change fiasco began

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – November 14, 2020 — Perhaps on Wednesday the negotiations for a long standing tax dispute between the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) and Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos will begin and perhaps, on December 21st the property which employs 1,800 people will finally reopen to guests.

The website on Thursday night held the date for opening as Wednesday November 18.  Today, the Beaches website informs that opening for Beaches Resort in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos is postponed by nearly five weeks to Monday December 21.

Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos ready with COVID-19 health protocols in place, Photo by Magnetic Media

The date has been bumping back on the 2020 calendar since July, when international travelers were first welcomed back to Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory, after it shut borders due to the wave of Covid-19 walloping the world.

No opening in July for Beaches Resort almost immediately impacted airline schedules; it meant less flights and naturally, less tourists and less income for thousands of families and businesses. 

At the time, Beaches Resort promised to reopen on October 14 but stunned the nation when the Board of Directors of the resort also explained the opening was hinged on getting resolve in a four-year-old tax row.

October 14 came and went, no opening for the sprawling resort which accounts for around 70 percent of long stay visitors to the Turks and Caicos.  Instead, guests who had booked vacations began receiving apologies from the resort and the offer to either re-schedule or to visit a Beaches Resort in Jamaica. 

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October 15, Beaches reiterated that the decision not to reopen was regrettable but necessary, as there remained no resolution.  The TCIG said it was owed over $26 million dollars by Beaches Resort.  Beaches Resort claimed it owed nothing and had been, for years, wrongly charged and suffered breaches in its development agreement.

A volley of spicy comments was swatted around in the public domain through press releases and media statements.  The stalemate between TCIG and Beaches Resort was now ugly but there was agreement on a mediator and the new challenge turned to confirming a date for negotiation of the dispute to begin.

November 18 was given as the new reopening date for Beaches Resort once and if the matter was settled.  November 18 was also the date given by Government for when the negotiation would start. 

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Despite urging from the likes of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) to expedite the mediation meetings; there was no change for an earlier date. Onlookers knew this fact would create a problem and now we learn that it has… the Board is also immovable on its terms; the date for opening is no longer November 18 and that means a tourism rebound is stymied by stubbornness.

The initial announcement and stipulation for reopening by Beaches Resort executives came on July 24.  One-hundred and thirteen days later and there is still no resolution, therefore the gate of the country’s most significant tourism partner remains closed and the impact is far reaching, even devastating for the TCI’s rebound amidst this unprecedented pandemic.

Beaches Resort and the Turks and Caicos Islands Government are today both quiet about the reopening date change and about whether the negotiation with the mediator actually begins next week.

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