The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board is labelling its tourist arrival numbers for this past summer as extraordinary because their data has shown a double-digit increase to the pre-pandemic era.
Crowing about the numbers in a news release issued on Wednesday, the Tourist Board, dubbing itself as “the exclusive tourism authority for the Turks and Caicos Islands”, said the preliminary visitor statistics proved that 2021 has been one of the country’s busiest summers on record.
“Compared to pre-pandemic statistics in 2019, the destination saw an increase of over 18 percent in June with 54,188 visitors, an increase of 19 percent in July increase with 56,022 visitors, and an increase of 15 percent in August with 41,734 visitors,” the entity boasted.
The Tourist Board said the summer numbers exceeded all its projection modules and were well above average in a normal economic climate.
“Taking into consideration the current economic conditions and travel sentiment caused as a result of the global pandemic these numbers are considered extraordinary,” the board said.
It noted also that September is shaping up to be on par with pre-pandemic numbers, while October is seeing a double-digit increase.
“September is traditionally the slowest tourism month of the year for the Turks and Caicos and regional competitors, primarily due to it being the peak hurricane season in the Caribbean region.
“Many of the destination’s hotels and restaurants take this opportunity to seasonally close for renovations that ensure the quality of the product remains consistent and it also allows staff members to take vacations, ensuing that they become rejuvenated for the busier winter season.
“While these predicted seasonal closers occur in 2021, information received from the Tourist Board’s local and international partners indicate that September statistics are pacing to be the same as 2019 and October statistics are currently pacing approximately 10% ahead of 2019,” the Tourist Board continued.
It said the destination continues to flourish due to what it referred to as diligent safety protocols and strategic marketing campaigns in the United States, Canada, South America, United Kingdom and Europe.
“These powerful statistics are due to a combination of factors, including pent up demand for travel during the summer, and the result of the Tourist Board’s strategic marketing plans to promote the destination as a safe destination, including protocols enacted to ensure that both the local and international population are protected during these challenging times.
“The Tourist Board has carried out aggressive public relations campaigns, including press visits with key publications to ensure that they tell the authentic Turks and Caicos story on a consistent basis,” the release added.
It says the current public relations campaigns also include radio campaigns in source markets, advertising and partnerships with key stakeholders, and executing the Tourist Board’s signature event, Turks and Caicos Conference (TACC), which updated key wholesale and airline partners, who drive millions of dollars in revenue to the destination, on updated protocols and accommodation availability.
“These strategic promotions with key partners and the TCI Assured protocols to increase travel confidence, combined with the aggressive vaccine campaign spearhead by the Ministry of Health, has had a tremendous positive impact on the business that the Turks and Caicos Islands has received and confidence in the safety and security in the destination.
“Booking windows are shorter than they have been in previous years, so while the remainder of the season will be impacted by the Delta Variant, we are working towards and hopeful for a busy and successful Festive season,” the Tourist Board continued.
Tourism Minister Hon. Josephine Connolly was elated at the numbers that the county is seeing.
“I am pleased to see that our destination has performed so well, especially during the summer which has historically been the slow season for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“We enacted and enforced the necessary protocols to keep our local population and our visitors safe, which has resulted in excellent numbers and a summer that has performed above previous years. We are looking forward to a promising Festive season and are doing everything in our power to ensure that tourism, our main economic driver, is servicing our community and our travelling public equally,” she said.
In the meantime, the Tourist Board said that it is a strong supporter of vaccination among residents and was happy that approximately 70 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands also continues to promote its vaccine campaign among residents, with over 70 percent of the adult population being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—making it one of the most inoculated countries in the world,” it said.