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13,000 Travellers expected at PLS this Weekend says TCIAA

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 24, 2022 – This coming Saturday 8,000 travellers and on Sunday, 5,000 more will be either inbound or outbound at the Providenciales International Airport. So, undoubtedly, the destination is hot, but for those looking on, the right kind of hot is critical to true success as a leading tourism escape in the Caribbean.

“Approximately 8,000 passengers are expected to be handled at the Providenciales International Airport on Saturday, March 26th, 2022. Of those 8,000 passengers 7,000 will land and depart Providenciales within a continuous 5-hour window between 11am-4PM. All airlines, with especially American Airlines with as many as 11 flights, will arrive during the peak period.

On Sunday, March 27th, 2022 another 5,000 passengers are expected, which will present a much more manageable situation.”

The Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association, TCHTA says it is optimistic that the TCIAA and Government will work with them to make it a better experience.

“We are concerned in a big way, but we know that there are limitations to the existing structure.  We are optimistic that in working with the new CEO some agreeable solutions may be found to resolve the congestion,” said Stacy Cox, Executive Director of the TCHTA.

The Airports Authority says a hands on approach to improving the travel experience at the country’s leading airport gateway, the Providenciales International Airport, is not only being activated in time for the weekend coming but was seen last weekend as well.

“Last weekend officials from the Ministry of Border Control and the Deputy Governor were on hand and took measures to address the issue related to the clearing of inbound passengers. Their efforts and intervention proved most effective and are welcomed,” said the Airports Authority in a Wednesday statement to media.

The real need is manifold in size; a mega expansion of the PLS which has been estimated to cost upward of $350 Million.  The plans are in heavy discussion informs Government, but will obviously not make it through the pipeline in time for the remainder of March and April 2022.

Travel will continue to be record breaking for the next six weekends at least.

The Airports Authority informed that despite some published reports of an $80 million dollar expansion a decade ago, the investment then was $10 million.

(Magnetic Media has made that correction)

It was also thought to be too little; lacking the vision and confidence that the Turks and Caicos was indeed a highly sought after, luxury escape which would outgrow the expanded space, officially dedicated in December 2014.

It took mere months to prove skeptics right.

“TCIAA is aware of the issues of passengers having to remain onboard aircrafts due to the lack of capacity in the arrival hall. We are working with relevant authorities such as Immigration, Customs, the airlines, and hoteliers to expedite this process. Conversations have occurred, are ongoing, and will continue until solutions that work and that we are satisfied with are achieved.”

Recommendations for there to be refreshments, entertainment, greeters or hosts even cooling fans to be stationed have all been made.  The TCIAA, in the Wednesday statement revealed the results of a needs assessment to create a smoother operation at the terminal building.

To manage the expected arrival of some 13,000 passengers this weekend the following measures will take place;

  1. Additional security will be deployed for faster check-in and passenger clearing.
  2. All security scanning positions will be deployed and manned to meet the projected passenger demand.
  3. Additional staff will be deployed for passenger and guest services as has been the case over the past weeks to mitigate congestion. Providenciales International Airport Turks and Caicos Islands Tel: 649.946.4420 Web: www.tciairports.com Email: nikeva@tciairports.com FB: www.facebook.com/tciairports Twitter: @tciaa
  4. We understand that an increased number of Immigration Officers will be utilized. As the Minister responsible, we will deploy additional support from other islands to Providenciales if necessary.
  5. We also understand that more Health Service Officers will be available and are currently being coordinated.
  6. Extra management, supervisory and customer service representatives are necessary to handle visitor questions and processing and will be deployed.
  7. The departure lounge capacity is not a quick fix. The immediate solution might be to work with Hotels and Villa operators to better coordinate the departure of our guests. This will be explored by the TCIAA. We are still working on these solutions with external stakeholders. This could have added cost and logistics to the stakeholders however we must see the greater good and we strongly encourage our accommodation stakeholders to work with the TCIAA on this effort.
  8. The Airports Authority is reviewing the use portable and modular space for passengers in both arrival and check-in space as a temporary solution.
  9. Transparent discussions with restaurants and supply chain operators are ongoing about innovative and operational ways to make passenger experience more acceptable.

Eyes will be on the airport this weekend to see if the collaboration is effective in dousing the ‘hot mess’ which has become an unsavory label and which has been pushed out on social media.

This one came to our newsroom following the horrendous lines over the St Patrick’s Day weekend.

“Hot, super crowded, messy.  It’s an embarrassment to the country that this is the first and last place we see.”

Caribbean News

US Milestone Celebrated

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#Jamaica, June 30, 2022 – This year marks the United States of America’s (USA) 246th anniversary of Independence, and the milestone was celebrated with a reception on June 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.  The event also featured the traditional United States Marine Corps Colour Guard ceremony.

Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, who represented the Government of Jamaica, extended congratulations to the Government and people of the United States (US) on this significant achievement.

“The Government of Jamaica is pleased to join in commemorating this milestone with our American friends and partners. Today we celebrate a nation that continues to give practical meaning to the declaration of Independence and the vision of the founding fathers for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These tenets have been central to the growth and development of the Union since 1776 and its transformation as a global leader,” he said.

For his part, US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, said the countries’ partnership has been rewarding, and expressed the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening the cooperation between the nations.

“On behalf of the United States Mission to Jamaica, thank you for joining us as we celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. As we celebrate America’s independence, we also celebrate 60 years of partnership between our two countries. Together we have promoted democracy, human rights, and shared security concerns,” he said.

Jamaica established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1962, following its independence from the United Kingdom.

The partnership focuses on reducing corruption; increasing transparency and good governance; fostering Jamaican participation in regional security efforts; strengthening basic education; and increasing energy resiliency.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has provided more than US$16.4 million as well as donations of vaccines to assist Jamaica’s containment measures.

Additionally, over the last 12 months, the United States has collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to issue a record number of H2 visas, bringing critical, temporary labour to the US, while providing jobs for thousands of Jamaicans that resulted in millions of dollars in remittances.

Significantly, the Peace Corps, which is also celebrating 60 years of partnership with Jamaica this year, will resume its operations on the island beginning September, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

 

Contact: Rochelle Williams

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Positive Outlook for Caribbean Tourism

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Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

 June, 30, 2022 – The president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, says tourism in the Caribbean is recovering faster than expected.

While presenting at the CHTA ‘Caribbean Tourism Fireworks’, she said the Caribbean travel and tourism sector experienced the second-fastest recovery of all regions in 2021. Travel and Tourism have contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 36.6 per cent. She added that they have recovered over 311,000 jobs.

“That is really a testament to how fast Caribbean tourism has been able to come back into play,” said Madden-Greig.

January and February were not as successful because of the uprising of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Travel heightened between March and June, and Madden-Greig reported that summer looks promising and that they “expect that winter 2022-2023 will also be strong”.

“For the June to August period, [the Caribbean is] ahead of our 2019 airline arrivals in terms of what is forecast and on the books by upwards of two per cent,” she said.

The CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Fireworks is what the trade association uses to communicate regional tourism performance and outlook survey results. In addition to the performance reports, other topics were discussed including the recognition of Caribbean tourism’s resilience; that investments by the tourism industry in capital improvements, health safety and product value are underpinning the region’s tourism recovery; and that labour shortages present immediate and long-term opportunities.

CHTA urged employers, governments, education and training institutions to recruit new employees and prepare communities for careers, employment and ownership opportunities within the sector.

Also present at the CHTA Caribbean Tourism Firework were CHTA’s acting CEO and Director General, Vanessa Ledesma, Jamaican hotelier Clifton Reader, and the chair of CHTA’s Advocacy Committee.

While the speakers agreed that intra-Caribbean travel has great opportunities, they share that there are connectivity issues and issues with preserving, protecting and enhancing the region’s natural resources.

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Caribbean News

Sandals Resorts International Appoints Rachel McLarty as Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations

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Communications Executive Rejoins Brand After Tenure at Distinguished Jamaican Law Firm

 

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, June 15, 2022 – Sandals Resorts International recently  announced the appointment of Rachel McLarty to Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations, overseeing the company’s corporate communication efforts and public relations initiatives for the Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts brands throughout the Caribbean. Reporting to Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and CEO Gebhard Rainer, McLarty returns to the organization after a ten-year hiatus where she previously held the position of Group Director of Corporate Relations.

“We are in a moment of tremendous momentum and require a skilled, expert hand to navigate through what will be an upcoming decade of unprecedented growth for the organization,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of SRI. “Rachel McLarty is that voice in the Caribbean, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the company as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and plan for the next forty.”

McLarty, who will be based in the Kingston headquarters of Sandals Resorts International, will lead a talented team of public relations and communication professionals in Jamaica and throughout the entire Caribbean region. During her first tenure with SRI, McLarty served as Group Director of Corporate Relations for the organization for a period of five years, beginning in 2006. Prior to rejoining the company, she served as an attorney-at-law at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, one of the largest law firms in Jamaica. She is deeply committed to improving and developing Caribbean communities, currently sitting as Chairman of the Board for St. Andrew High School for Girls and the SOS Children’s Villages in Jamaica.

“Sandals Resorts International remains the brand standard for Caribbean organizations, and it is an honour to rejoin the company at such a prolific time,” said McLarty. “And while I have certainly followed the tremendous success of the brands in the last decade, I have remained even more impressed by the organization’s continued commitment to the Caribbean, the region we all call home. I look forward to the incredible work to be done.”

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