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TCI draws more than 1 million tourists in 2011 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 22 December 2011 12:38

This holiday season will be extra special as the country celebrates its one millionth tourist of the year, making 2011 an all-time high for tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“This is indicative of the strength of our islands’ tourism product, the friendliness of our people and the cooperation of the Tourist Board, Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA), Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority, Grand Turk Cruise Center, Provo Air Center and the marinas across the country,” said a jubilant Tourism Director Ralph Higgs.

The Grand Turk Cruise Center is the largest contributor to the record, which is not unusual in destinations which have cruise ports, Higgs said. So it’s fitting that the center will welcome the one millionth tourist on Dec. 31.

“There have been some remarkable developments as it relates to cruise tourism in TCI, including the recently passed legislation which allows same day marriages for cruise ship passengers,” said the Cruise Center’s John Young. “We all hope that this new initiative will see us continue the growth and see more cruise passengers returning to enjoy the islands for longer stays.”

The 1,000,001th visitor will be welcomed the same day on Providenciales arriving on JetBlue, which began flights to the TCI in February.

“The Airports Authority is always eager to promote the destination, and 2011 has been very rewarding,” said Airports Authority CEO John T. Smith. “We saw the arrival of Continental Airlines and JetBlue as well as Caicos Express, and we look forward to more airlines coming on board. Without the demand, these flights would not be possible, so we thank every visitor to the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The number of tourists is calculated by the statistical department which collects data from the cruise center and airports. Higgs said they verified the information with the Airports Authority and the TCHTA.

“If we can do this in a down market, I can’t imagine what we can do as the economy improves,” said TCHTA Executive Stacy Cox, who said the goal is to surpass these record numbers in 2012.

The Tourist Board recently embarked on a strategy to encourage visitors to see the sister islands. Higgs said all indications are that the strategy is taking root, pointing to the recent announcement by TCI Ferry to offer tours on North and Middle Caicos, and by Caicos Express airlines to offer flights to Grand Turk and Salt Cay.

Photo: Tourism Director Ralph Higgs (left) and TCHTA A.E. Stacy Cox model T-shirts to mark the occasion of the 1 millionth tourist arrival.



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