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Just how bad was 2020’s Tourism decline? TCI Tourist Board statistics reveal

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#TurksandCaicos, May 3, 2021 – Turks and Caicos Tourism Board data shows a drastic drop in overall visitors to the Islands from 2019’s record-breaking 1,598,557 to 370,406 in 2020, translating to a 77 per cent drop. 

Stopover arrivals slumped by 66 per cent, cruise passenger arrival down by 81 per cent and the number of cruise vessels at port dropped by 81 per cent compared to 2019.

The phenomenal drop in the overall performance of the TCI tourism industry could be attributed to the impact of the global Coronavirus pandemic that almost brought down the entire tourism industry to a standstill. 

According to the UNWTO Impact Assessment of the Covid-19 Outbreak on the International Tourism report, it was projected there would be an overall decline of 70-75 per cent in tourism for the whole of 2020. 

Based on a report prepared by the TCI Tourist Board Statistical Officer Ms. Sharissa Lightbourne, stopover arrivals from the major markets such as the US, Canada, and Europe recorded a decline of 65, 62, and 79 per cent, respectively. 

Even though the stopover arrivals to the Turks and Caicos Islands increased by 13 per cent in the first two months of 2020 compared to the previous year, the promising trend was soon compromised as the Islands recorded a 53 per cent drop in stopovers in March 2020 due to the detrimental impact of the novel Coronavirus in major TCI tourism markets and border closure from March 24 to July 22, 2020.

The remarkable 1,598,557 visitor arrivals in 2019 represented a nine per cent increase from the previous year’s figures. Broken down into various categories, the arrivals included 86,739 Stopover and 1,111,818 cruise visits.

The Grand Turk Cruise Center welcomed a 9 percent increase in cruise passengers and an 11 per cent increase in cruise year-over-year. 

According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the remarkable growth made by the tourism industry in the region in 2019 could be attributed to strong demand from the main markets.

Increased airlift capacity, more diverse accommodation facilities, and sustainable recovery following hurricane season 2017 were some of the additional factors that fueled a blast in tourism the region’s tourism industry. 

With the borders closed for some months, hotels shut, cruise vessels stopped sailing, air travels restricted, and the government imposed rafts of restrictions to protect the locals and mitigate the spread of the pandemic, the ever-promising TCI’s blue economy came crumbling within months, as in other Caribbean countries. 

However, with the intensified global vaccination drive and promising progress in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s hope at the end of the tunnel for the TCI tourism sector as the virus containment efforts prove effective. 

Government

Washington MISICK challenged, and holds onto Leadership of the PNP

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#TurksandCaicos, February 24, 2024 – Magnetic Media can report that WASHINGTON MISICK has emerged and remains LEADER of the governing Progressive National Party.It has been a contentious battle today at the PNPs National General Congress (NGC) for party leadership with interest coming from: Jas Walkin, the party’s 2021 campaign manager who this week publicly withdrew his bid; Dameko Dean, former Wheeland candidate who had published an article revealing his quest to lead the PNP and E Jay Saunders who today unsuccessfully challenged MISICK for the role.Saunders has tried for leader before and has served as the party’s deputy leader, at the pleasure and selection of Washington Misick since June 2019.The run for party leader was a risky maneuver by Saunders, son of former PNP Party leader and Chief Minister Norman Saunders.Delegates cast votes, giving E Jay Saunders 58 votes and Washington Misick 88. The elder statesman convincingly retaining delegates’ confidence.It is also reported that, based on the PNP Constitution, Saunders needed 70% support from delegates in a preliminary run off.  He was unable to secure that much backing.A constitutional motion to change the selection process of the deputy leader to a delegate vote reportedly failed.It is therefore unclear what the immediate future, politically is for Saunders whose party and government roles are hinged on Washington Misick’s prerogative to have him or someone else in these posts.However Misick is already promoting a strict focus on uniting the party following the NGC meeting held at the Shore Club.

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Crime

TCI Community College staff struck and robbed, another chased in car by attackers

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – Attacks against several of its staff members last week have forced the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College to reassess its security.

“The college is robustly ending in immediate steps to review and reinforce our campus security protocols,” said a February 16 letter to staff seen by Magnetic Media.

The letter puts the date of the incidents as February 15th at one of its Providenciales campuses.

In the first,  a male member of staff was attacked and his car stolen after he left a meeting. When Magnetic Media queried police about the event, they released additional details of the robbery.

We were told around 9:15 pm, Thursday February 15, a 39-year-old male and his colleagues were leaving the TCI Community College Campus, Princess Drive, Providenciales, when a group of men surrounded his vehicle.

The man, noticing that one of the men had stopped at the rear of the vehicle, approached him to investigate and was struck on the head. In the immediate aftermath, the assailants escaped in the victim’s car, leaving the TCICC staff member injured at the scene.

The victim was transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center by police officers, and up until news production time, the car had not yet been recovered.

Following this incident, the Community College also revealed that a car chase had taken place.

A female member of staff this time, was chased down by suspected criminals as she left the campus. The employee managed to outdrive the people pursuing her and arrive safely at her destination, but she was described as shaken.

Now both, police officers and campus administration are urging residents to remain vigilant, especially when heading into their cars at night.

Safety tips that can help residents avoid attack, robbery, injury, or worse include:

  • Stay alert when heading to your vehicle; don’t be distracted by your phone; pay attention to your surroundings.
  • if you see anything or anyone suspicious, do not investigate on your own; go back and get a security guard or similar personnel to assist.
  • Have your keys ready in your hands before approaching your car, so you can enter the safety of your vehicle immediately.

The police have not yet arrested anyone for the robbery attack against the employee.

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News

Royal TCI Police share CAREER DAY Highlights

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – On Thursday, 8th February 2024, between 9 am – and 2 pm, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force attended a Career Day event at the Enid Capron Primary School, Five Cays, Providenciales.

Under the theme “Be aware, choose a career”, the RTCIPF showcased the many career options available in policing.

Members of the Community Policing Unit, Safeguarding and Public Protection, Anti-Gang and Drugs Unit, Marine Branch, Traffic Enforcement, Air Support Unit and Mechanical Department were present.  Officers answered questions posed by the young, impressionable minds.

Insp Ensa Wilson lectured students on various topics, including: “Good Touch, Bad Touch”, alerting adults to inappropriate situations and the importance of calling 911.

Students were asked questions following the lecture and were given RTCIPF tokens.

Sgt. Kavin Mars, along with PC Fitzlewis McDonald and Kiyon Doughty of the Anti Gang and Drug Unit, freestyled “Don’t Huff, Don’t Puff, Don’t Do That Stuff” and warned students of the dangers –health and legal – of using drugs.

Superintendent (Community Policing and Divisions) Dwight Gardiner commended the school’s initiative and applauded the representation of officers present.

Supt. Gardiner said: “Career Days often highlight the importance of community policing and underscore law enforcement’s vital role in fostering trust, collaboration, and safety within neighbourhoods.

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