There’s more to Turks and Caicos than Providenciales
Beyond Provo: Turks and Caicos showcases diversity of tourism offer
ANN RUPPENSTEIN

Since the 1980s, Providenciales has continued to develop as the main resort hub in Turks and Caicos. The island features major brands like The Ritz-Carlton, Beaches Turks & Caicos, Blue Haven Resort and Club Med Turkoise. Provo — as it’s commonly referred to — is home to an international airport that links both Toronto and Montreal, and Grace Bay Beach, a five-kilometre long stretch of beach with calm turquoise water and idyllic white sand that frequently gets recognized on lists of the World’s Best Beaches.

As a destination where 85% of the GDP comes from tourism, Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands, said the archipelago has launched a new marketing and product development strategy to build awareness about each island’s distinct natural beauty and charm. Turks and Caicos is leading this change by replacing its tourist board with Experience Turks and Caicos, a newly launched destination management organization.

“The tourist board is a model of the past. We are looking to the future,” she said. “In essence, it is a pivot towards a more people and environment centred approach where the dividends of prosperity are shared by all stakeholders and the natural beauty of these islands is preserved for generations to come. This renewed vision has led to the recent restructuring of the tourist board to maintain our competitiveness, resilience and sustainability.”

From Courtney Missick, an entrepreneur running Isaac Farms in North Caicos, to Cynthia Johnstone, who creates salt-based bath products on Salt Cay, a small cay off the coast of Grand Turks with 1 police officer for its 69 residents, the destination is now on a mission to spread the wealth of tourism to its other 40 islands and cays.

“Our strategy is that when you come to the Turks and Caicos Islands, it’s not just Providenciales. We’re islands of unique culture and heritage and we all have our unique personality,” noted Racquel Brown, Change Manager/Interim CEO for Experience Turks and Caicos. “Most persons think of the Turks and Caicos Islands as Providenciales. We’re so much more.”

Over the coming months, the goal is to develop more tours and activities that touch on cultural and heritage experiences, local culinary offerings and adventure tours.

“We want every resident to benefit from the tourism industry, the tourism economy,” added Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism at Turks and Caicos Islands Government. “While marketing would have been the priority of the former tourist board, this new entity will be much more people centred and environmentally focused.”

Connolly said North and Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay are some of the locations that will benefit from spreading tourism. However, in order to achieve this growth sustainably, the destination is currently undergoing a carrying capacity study and is implementing quality standards across its entire tourism sector and not just accommodations.

“We have a lot of five-star luxury products here. We want to raise the standard across the board so that when you come to the Turks and Caicos Islands, regardless of which island you are on, you’re having the same value-added proposition, it’s service,” Brown said.

For travel advisors, another big piece of news is that the destination now has eight properties that are part of Virtuoso: Amanyara, Beach Enclave, COMO Parrot Cay, Grace Bay Club, The Palms, The Ritz-Carlton, The Shore Club, and Wymara Resort and Villas.

“We’re excited about this new accolade as it further strengthens our brand in the luxury market and as we have joined an exclusive portfolio of luxury travel partners,” Connolly said. 





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