Above: Turks and Caicos
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Turks and Caicos Islands received a total of 199,347 stopover arrivals in the first half of 2014, a 25 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013, according to newly-released government figures.
That represented the largest improvement of any Caribbean tourism destination with complete reporting for the first half, according to an analysis of Caribbean Tourism Organization data by Caribbean Journal.
The growth was driven by a strong winter and spring tourist season, the government said.
Above: the Parrot Cay resort in Turks and Caicos
The United States was the British Overseas Territory’s largest source market, accounting for 161,385 stopover arrivals, a 28 percent improvement over 2013.
The territory’s second-largest market, Canada, brought in 22,593 arrivals, a 14 percent improvement compared to the first six months of 2013.
The territory also reported increases of 17 percent and 86 percent from France and the United Kingdom, respectively.
While it accounted for a small percentage of arrivals, the territory saw a 57 percent improvement in arrivals from Brazil.
“I am extremely thrilled to know that the number of tourist arrivals are up. This attests to the fact that despite the challenges being faced throughout the world economies, travel has sustained the necessary cutbacks in leisure spending and further, our beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands remains the destination of choice,” Turks and Caicos Premier Dr Rufus Ewing said. “I am extremely optimistic and confident that our numbers will continue to climb and that our high end luxury brand destination will deliver the highest numbers that our industry has ever seen.”
In a statement, Tourism Director Ralph Higgs said the tourist board was projecting a total of 1.35 million visitors to the destination for 2014, including cruise visits.
“With the Providenciales International Airport nearing completion, we hope to improve our visitor’s experience from the point of entry until their return; ensuring that the Turks and Caicos remains top of mind, strengthening positive visitor’s reviews and referrals, thus continuing to grow our land-based arrivals in the future,” he said.