Above: the Turks and Caicos Islands
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Tourist stopover arrivals to the Turks and Caicos Islands rose by 30 percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to data released Thursday by the Turks and Ciacos Islands Tourist Board.
There were a total of 105,506 stopover visitors in the first quarter, led by a 35 percent increase in visitors from the United States — the territory’s single largest source market.
Canadian tourists grew by 13 percent to 14,830 stopover arrivals in the same period, according to the tourist board.
On the cruise side, the territory welcomed 252,682 visitors, for a combined total of 358,188 visitor arrivals in the first three months of 2014 including stopover and cruise visitors.
““The Turks and Caicos brand has been a magnet to our guests who, upon visiting the country once, are compelled to come time and time again,” said Premier and Tourism Minister Dr Rufus Ewing. “These numbers are not only impressive but demonstrative that this jewel of ours is no longer a secret, and in fact, is one of the most sought after destinations in the region, and indeed the world.”
In a statement, Turks and Caicos Tourism Director Ralph Higgs said the data represented “wonderful results for the destination, the country, the tourism industry and the economy.”
“It is a most encouraging sign that stop-over arrivals growth came from all regions in the first quarter of the year,” Higgs said. “We are thrilled to see our overall arrival numbers for the first quarter of 2014 up 41%, and we are optimistic that these numbers will continue to climb through the remainder of the year.”
Separately, the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association said that unaudited occupancy figures showed a similar 30 percent increase in the first quarter.