#TurksandCaicos, May 12, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board hosted its 17th annual Turks and Caicos Conference (TACC) from May 5 to 6, 2021. The event which is the signature tourism conference for the destination was presented with a hybrid of virtual and in-person events for the first time.
This year’s conference had 117 registrants which included wholesalers, airline representatives, hoteliers and local government officials. The Turks and Caicos Conference is typically a three-day event which sees major industry representatives assemble in the islands to receive updates on the destination, network and conduct meetings. In order to comply with current public health protocols, this year’s conference format was revised to a two-day event inclusive of an Opening Ceremony at Amanyara on May 5th and the main conference session at Beaches Resort on May 6th. Additionally, interactive virtual events were hosted courtesy of Grace Bay Resorts and The Hartling Group.
During the Opening Ceremony at Amanyara, the attendees were addressed by the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Hon. Charles Washington Misick, Minister of Tourism Hon. Josephine Connolly, Chairman of the Board of Directors Beverly Howell, Director of Tourism Pamela Ewing and President of the TCHTA Trevor Musgrove.
The main conference session at Beaches Resort saw several dignitaries in attendance including Her Excellency Deputy Governor Anya Williams, Deputy Premier Hon. Erwin Jay Saunders, Minister of Tourism Hon. Connolly, Junior Minister of Tourism Hon. Stubbs and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Mrs. Cherylann Jones.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Rediscover Turks & Caicos: Resilience, Innovation and Sustainability’. The guest speakers included Senior VP of Investor Services at Invest Turks & Caicos Angela Musgrove, National Trust Executive Director Winema Saunders-Penn, TCHTA President Trevor Musgrove, and an industry presentation by Director of Tourism Pamela Ewing.
The keynote speech was delivered by Turks and Caicos Islands Deputy Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams who provided an overview on the growth of tourism over the years, the impact of the recent pandemic, and the way forward toward a full recovery of the economy and tourism industry.
In the address, which focused on the resilience of the destination and highlighted the strategy to re-opening the tourism industry, she stated, “As we were the only overseas territory to do so at the time, there were lots of fears, but recognizing that tourism is the major source of revenue to our economy, we had to balance health and safety with the need to ensure that persons were able to maintain some form of livelihood and that businesses were able to earn some source of direct income.
The Turks and Caicos currently offers one of the safest travel experiences to its guests. Our COVID-19 position here in the islands has significantly improved where at the moment we only have 33 active cases and a localized positivity rate of just over 3%, which we hope to further improve. The positivity rate amongst guests tested prior to their return to their home destination sits at below 1% which means that the large majority of the guests that come to our islands are able to enjoy their visits here without the significant fear of contracting the virus on island.
The pandemic is not over, but we are certainly working towards our exit strategy and 2021 has brought with it, new hopes, a refined focus and renewed strategy.”
This year’s wholesaler segment provided hoteliers with industry updates featuring presentations from Apple Leisure Group, American Airlines and Classic Vacations which are among the top producing wholesalers for the destination.
The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board is committed to its mandate to promote the ‘Beautiful by Nature’ islands as well as continue to build and strengthen strategic industry partnerships through events such as TACC.
Tourist Board representatives anticipate that TACC will return to the shores of the Turks and Caicos Islands with its traditional format in 2022.