Above: Turks and Caicos
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly officially reopened, following a ceremony Wednesday, with tourism at the forefront.
Governor Ric Todd’s Throne Speech outlined a major push on tourism, looking to new tourism niches and new markets including South America and Asia.
Todd said revitalizing the economy would become the “principal thrust” of his government, with a special emphasis on tourism, construction and financial services as the “principal channels through which meaningful economic growth can be achieved.”
Within the first 180 days in office, the government will convene a Tourism and Investment Conference supported by marketing and promotional strategies, he said, along with renewed engagement with the financial services industry.
“My government will give focused attention to stalled resort projects in the islands,” he said. “We will seek to convene meetings with the developers of these projects with a view to reviving those which could be revived.”
He also said the government would review the plans for the expansion of the Providenciales International Airport Terminal to ensure the long-term growth of the tourism sector is provided for.
He also outlined policy on a number of areas including health care and immigration. But it was tourism that was, as he said, the thrust, as tourism and its subsidiaries will “remain the principal revenue earner in our economy.”
He said the government would renew and revise its Tourism Strategic Plan, and align it with the territory’s National Development Plan.
It would also look to new markets through promotion of medical tourism, ecotourism, sports tourism and culture and heritage tourism.
“My government will make its utmost priority the exploration of new tourism markets in Europe, Asia and South America to reduce the seasonality of tourist arrivals,” he said.
He said the government was committed to engaging in dialogue with international airlines, in order to facilitate regular airlift between the United States and JAGS McCartney Airport in Grand Turk.
The government also plans to expand cruise passenger terminals through the construction of a sea port on the island of South Caicos, “thus enabling the revitalization of the economy of that island and the lower Caicos Islands of North and Middle Caicos”