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Fear that Horrible Airport Reviews damaging TCI Tourism

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

Gorgeous beaches, mouthwatering cuisine, warm locals and the beautiful culture of the Turks and Caicos all pale in comparison to the horror show of the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International Airport and that opinion is coming directly from visitors. 

“Because of the way this experience was handled? Not coming back,” a visitor who was stuck in the airport overnight in March told us, while holding his tired three year old daughter. 

Dozens of similar reviews have been shared with the Magnetic Media news team directly as well as online. On some occasions the posts are riddled with expletives as tourists express their frustration. 

That a day at the airport can overshadow the Turks and Caicos’ extensive and luxurious offerings is a serious concern for stakeholders. 

“There is no way this can continue for another 3-5 years. Too many tourists are saying never again.” 

That timeline is supposed to be the cutoff point for a redevelopment of the airport.

But the question that operator put to our news team is if the pristine reputation of the country can continue to take the beating that the airport is giving it. Weekends are usually the worst. The problem, well documented over the years, is that too many aircraft come in too short a time frame bogging down arrivals and departures and concentrating thousands of guests in the airport at the same time.

It’s clearly the major issue, as on weekdays which usually have low traffic travelers report being in and out in minutes.

On the worst days though it results in a crush of people with barely standing room in the terminal while others wait in long lines in the blazing sun. The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) which oversees all government owned international airports in the country has begun to divert flights to private airfields nearby.

Godfrey Stewart, TCIAA CEO told the news team it was ‘simply an innovation to facilitate and maximize time and minimize diversion anywhere.’

“The option to use private ramps is not new. It’s situational as and [used] when needed. The TCIAA operations team understood the need to improvise and did so,” Smith told us

It comes at no charge to the TCIAA and is ‘ according to the CEO who described it as ‘most helpful.’

FBO operators aren’t as convinced, and they say a permanent solution is needed 

“It’s not ideal but it’s better than forcing them to circle for extended periods or have to divert because they need to land and there is no room.  That the airport thinks this is a better idea than spreading out the flights and continues to try to accept 50  flights in too short a window is really unfortunate,” one told us. 

The FBO’s aren’t the only ones who think this way, islanders and visitors have been calling for a drastic change in scheduling as well to spread out the flights allowing less congestion and smoother operations. For the government though that is a no-can-do for the Turks and Caicos.

“Slot management is program scheduling of flights to control volume and timing of flights. It works best in large airports rather than secondary airports like HHIA. 

Airlines build their flight schedule around its hub and connection demands at major hubs,” Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Security, told the news team months prior when we had asked about the issue in the midst of another flare up of congestion. 

Already visitors who have experienced the airport are warning others to pick a trip elsewhere 

‘It obviously is outdated and in need of a huge renovation. I really can’t see myself coming back here. For a place to be expensive and the first thing you go through,” a traveler said  in a January 4 post on Yelp where the airport has a two-star rating. 

On March 25th another customer posted his detailed experience 

“I’ve travelled to many small countries/airports in my life, but have never experienced anything even close to as bad as the Providenciales airport in Turks and Caicos. For our departure, we waited 1 hour just to check our bags, then another 2.5 hours in a jam-packed, dirty, 85 degree line to get to security. Once in the gate area, another 2 hours before they announced that the flight was canceled. We had to spend $1200 for one-night hotel accommodations, then went back the next day for more of the same: delays, waiting in long lines in high heat.  Turks and Caicos has nice beaches and clear water, but this airport experience, along with the high costs, bad roads, water restrictions, and mosquitos do not make it worth the visit. Never again.”

It was similar to a February review, ”Utter and complete disaster. No staff, poor line management and extremely, extremely long lines— Not sure I want to experience this again. Go elsewhere.”

“Worst airport, I would not recommend going to Turks and Caicos because the airport is so terrible. It is hell on earth, maybe worse,” said another. And possibly one of the most damning came from a seasoned traveler 

“This is the worst organized airport I’ve ever been to, and I’m an airline pilot so I’ve been to a lot of them,” a traveler said on March 9. 

That was only some of the 2024 reviews and almost all advise travelers to avoid the country completely.

With the growing popularity of the Turks and Caicos the government is expecting to hit a million stay over guests soon the bulk of which will likely have to be funneled through the Providenciales International Airport. 

With no slowdown in sight some industry professionals are already worried that if the country doesn’t find a permanent solution to the crisis it will start to pay for that with lower arrival numbers.

TCI News

Orlando Mother Remanded for Bullet possession in Turks and Caicos

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Wilkie Arthur and Deandrea Hamilton 

Editorial staff

 

Remanded until July, but her attorney Leanna Brooks-Campbell is likely to make application for bail as the matter is now transfered to the Supreme Court.

American tourist from Orlando, Florida Shanita Shinee Grier, 45, who was arrested Monday, after two bullets were allegedly found in her baggage is the newest defendant facing the stiff penalties associated with breaching the Turks & Caicos Firearms Ordinance.

Grier was exiting TCI at the Providenciales International Airport with her daughter when the ammunition was detected, ending her Mother’s Day trip to the islands on an unexpectedly sour note.

Today, the chief magistrate remanded her to prison until July 5, 2024, however that can change.

She is facing charges of unlawful possession of ammunition; a crime punishable with a minimum 12 year sentence except in the case of a judge ruling that the case falls in the category of “exceptional.”

Then, and only then would it warrant a different sentence by a judge.

Support for the Floridian was impressive; Bryan Hagerich and Ryan Watson and their relatives filled the Magistrate’s Court on Old Airport Road informs Court Correspondent, Wilkie Arthur.

It was a show of patriotic solidarity on an issue which has elicited emotive views on all sides for Americans who are hoping to prove they were tourists on holiday and nothing more.

Bryan Hagerich of Pennsylvanian and Ryan Watson of Oklahoma also charged in two separate instances for being in possession of ammunition while wrapping up their TCI vacations in April and May respectively.

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InvestTCI facilitates the Development Agreement Between TCIG and Molo Hotel Group 

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – May 14th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Molo Hotel Group reached a pivotal juncture on Monday, May 13th, 2024, with the ceremonial signing of a development agreement at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales. The agreement, which received official Cabinet approval on March 13th, 2024, signifies a steadfast commitment to advancing the economic landscape of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Molo Hotel Group is a family-owned business, renowned for its distinguished portfolio of high-quality hotels worldwide. The development initiative encompasses the construction of three distinct IHG branded hotels: InterContinental Turks and Caicos, Kimpton Turks and Caicos and Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos. Scheduled for completion by 2027, each resort boasts a distinctive design from luxury to laidback sophistication spanning across the shores of Grace Bay Beach.

Kimpton Turks and Caicos – an epitome of luxury lifestyle living, will feature 192 guest rooms including three outdoor pools, a luxury spa and a fitness center. Additionally, seven dining options ranging from a beachfront restaurant to a rooftop bar.

Adjacent to the Kimpton, InterContinental Turks and Caicos will offer 59 classic luxury suites with panoramic ocean views. Mirroring its counterpart, this resort will offer an array of dining options and upscale facilities.

Steps away from the Intercontinental and Kimpton resorts, Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos will embrace a sense of community and contemporary elegance, offering 56 bedrooms. The resort will feature an onsite restaurant, lobby bar, outdoor pool, and fitness room.

Beyond the realm of hospitality, this development agreement underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and enhancing employment opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Molo is partnering with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) to actively promote hospitality as a career choice and support in developing training programs, career fairs, seminars, workshops, and events to raise awareness about hospitality careers. Molo has committed to provide employment and apprentice opportunities to TCICC students and provide mentoring and practical on property training to students.

The signing event was graced by Hon. Charles Washington Missick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Jamell Robinson, Deputy Premier, Hon. Kyle Knowles, Minister of Public Safety and Utilities, Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Łukasz and Marcin Slominski, Owners of Molo, Ross Morrow, Managing Director Molo, Arik Kono, Vice President Upscale Development for IHG, Dr. Candice Williams, President and CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Angela Musgrove, InvestTCI CEO, Dr. Barbara Ambrister, Chairperson of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Dr. Delores Stapleton- Harris, Vice President of Academic, Vocational and Student Affairs for the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Mr. Kevin Baxter, Dean of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) and Sheryl McLaughlin, InvestTCI Investment Services Executive.

Commenting on the development agreement, Premier, Hon. Misick, stated “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing of IHG/Molo Hotels is a significant step towards a sustainable future for hospitality in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Three hotels, Kimpton, Intercontinental, and Hotel Indigo, will be introduced, enhancing our tourism product and creating employment opportunities.”

He further added, “Partnerships with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission are underway, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to developing human capital and elevating tourism offerings. This project will bring economic growth, embrace local talent, and enrich our economy.”

Additionally, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, CEO of Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, emphasized “This collaboration confirms our commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity within our country. We have worked closely with Molo Hotel Group, and we are confident that this transformative project will further position the Turks and Caicos Islands as a premier destination for travel and investment. Much to our delight, it will also provide opportunities for engagement with our Community College and small business community.”

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, operating through its primary Investment Promotion

Agency, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, remains committed to attracting and facilitating Foreign Direct Investments to the country by providing a comprehensive suite of services. Through strategic initiatives and targeted promotion, the agency catalyzes sustainable development, driving innovation and small business opportunities across various sectors of the economy.

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TCI News

AMERICAN MOTHER AND DAUGHTER ALLEGEDLY ARRESTED FOR TWO BULLETS

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Deandrea Hamilton and Wilkie Arthur

Editorial Staff

 

A DAUGHTER reportedly brought her mother to the Turks and Caicos for Mother’s Day, and both were allegedly arrested, leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands today (Monday 13th, May,2024).

Officials say they were found with two rounds of ammunition in their luggage.

Police have confirmed the arrest to Magnetic Media after inquiries.

Turks & Caicos residents are already reacting to this latest report, “dumbfounded” by the mistake which keeps being repeated despite all of the high profile attention the matter has received in leading news organizations and the warning the US Embassy has issued. There is also the well publicized stance of the TCI Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that these individuals must be punished according to the law.

In this newest case, the daughter was released, and the mother remains in police custody pending charge and court appearance later this week.

Police inform they will update soon.

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