October 20, 2020

1.4 million tourists visited Turks and Caicos Islands last year

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By Hayden Boyce From The Sun TCI

At the official signing of the joint MOU, (sitting left to right) FortisTCI Vice President of Innovation, Technology and Strategic Planning Rachell Roullet, FortisTCI President & CEO Eddinton Powell, Minister of Home Affairs, Public Utilities and Transportation Hon. Goldray Ewing, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs Public Utilities and Transportation Clara Gardiner, Clinton Climate Initiative Senior Project Manager Alexis Tubb, Rocky Mountain Institute Associate Sydney Jules, (standing left to right) Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs Public Utilities and Transportation Russell Cox, FortisTCI Director of Legal Services Alexandria Missick, Senior Vice President of Corporate Services Ruth Forbes, and Clinton Foundation Senior Energy AssociateWes Adrianson

Arecord 1.4 million tourists visited the Turks and in 2018, with cruise ship arrivals taking the lead with a record-breaking performance of just over one million passengers (1,021,741), while there were 441,344 land-based arrivals.

According to the recently-released 2018 Tourism Statistics Report, the TCI experienced an 18% increase in overall visitor arrivals over 2017.

Cruise arrivals accounted for the majority of the visitors, showing an increase of 23%, with ships carrying an average capacity of 95%. Land-based arrivals increased by 6% this year, despite hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

Acting Director of Tourism Mary Lightbourne commented, “The destination continues to experience impressive growth in both land based and cruise arrivals. The Turks & Caicos Tourist Board will continue to work strategically to market and position the destination as the premier luxury destination in the Caribbean.” 

The Tourist Board attributed this growth to its use of non-traditional mass media marketing strategies in addition to strategic industry partnerships. 

In September 2018, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government Department of Economic Planning and Statistics conducted a Departing Visitors Survey which showed that approximately $2.9 million was spent by visitors during the one-week period in September 2018. 

This accounted for $1.05 million in packaged expenditures and $1.89 million in non-packaged expenses. 

Among the non-packaged expenditures, accommodations and meals accounted for the largest share of about 79.8%. Shopping expenses were 1.76 percent. 

It was noted that the amount spent on shopping could have been much higher if only more shops were available to the visitors. As was the case with previous departing visitors’ surveys, many of the visitors recommended that more shops be made available for tourists.

Translated into daily figures, each visitor had spent an average daily expenditure of $256.56. This was about $236.62 for packaged expenses and $269.07 for non-packaged expenses. 

Among the group with the largest number of visitors, the Europeans were the big spenders at $346.46 average daily expenses per person of which $418.50 were spent on non-packaged items. 

First time visitors to the Islands spent a daily average of $223.13 per person. On the other hand, previous visitors spent around $243.69 daily. 

About 29.2% of the responding visitors booked their lodging arrangements directly through the airline. 28.5% booked through the internet booking service and 16.8% booked through a travel agency. 

The factors considered with utmost importance in deciding visits were the beautiful beaches (74.6%), ease of travel access (3.5%) and affordability (1.8%). 

The majority of visitors (55.7%) took between 2 to 6 months to decide on their visit to the TCI. 

Visitors generally felt that the tourism services and product in the TCI was very good. However, some expressed dissatisfaction with the level of souvenir purchases and the services of taxi/ hired cars and the lack of night life in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

There was a positive willingness among visitors to return to the Islands and to recommend visit to TCI. Most visitors (98.8%) felt safe in the TCI. About 53.1% of the responding visitors stated that the wait time for the baggage claim was short while 31.2% claimed that it was reasonable. Some 61.7% of the responding visitors stated that the wait time for customs was short and 51% indicated that it took about 0-9 minutes. 

The largest group of visitors was from the United States of America. They accounted for 84.4% of responding visitors and 86.5% of total visitors. 
The Turks and Caicos Islands was a choice place of tourists traveling with family. About 22.4% visited with children/family and another 45.9% with their spouses/partner. 

There were about 49.5% first time visitors to the TCI and only 25.1% were first time visitors to the Caribbean region. Providenciales was the most frequented island with the majority of the visitors spending their visit on this commercial center. The top most visited place was the Beaches Resort. 
The TCI was a favorite place for persons travelling on vacation/pleasure (85.9%). Endorsement from the airlines (32.2%) was posted as the top source of information in planning the TCI trip. Next major source was online travel agencies such as Expedia (17.6%). The majority of the responding visitors (61.2%) did not travel on a pre-paid package. 

The average length of stay in the TCI was about 6 nights and around $256.56 was the average daily expenditure per person. About $2.94 million were spent by responding visitors on this particular visit. This accounted for $ 1.05 million in packaged expenditures and $1.89 million in non-packaged expenses. 10. 51.3% of the responding visitors booked their airfare directly with an airline, 21.7% booked online through the internet booking service and 14.1% booked through a travel agency.

For more on this story go to; https://suntci.com/million-tourists-visited-turks-and-caicos-islands-last-year-p4689-129.htm

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