The Turks and Caicos Islands' success in the global tourism sector has not been a straight line as indeed it has fluctuated with global economic ebbs and flows. The industry here has however proven to be very resilient to exogenous shocks. Over the last forty years we have seen the Turks and Caicos Islands gradually position itself amongst its sea of competitors as a distinctive destination. The journey from Club Med to Ritz Carlton has been an experience of high and lows, but over the last twenty years, we have been mostly highs with more success stories then failures and for that we are thankful to Almighty God and the collective ingenuity of our stakeholders and all connected to it in the travel and tourism space.
Today it gives me much pleasure to share in this momentous occasion of the opening of the Ritz Carlton - a member of the Marriott extensive portfolio of 7,300+ hotels worldwide, spread out across 131 countries. Although I am proud of our own exclusive home-grown brands, this is the moment in a sense, when we can say that the TCI hospitality sector has grown up. That is due to the huge network of resorts and potential visitors that will for the first time be introduced to the Turks and Caicos Islands. This would not otherwise be so without a global brand of the Ritz standing.
The Turks and Caicos Islands government congratulates you, the Ritz Carlton team, on the opening of this resort. We are happy to officially welcome you as a part of our Turks and Caicos family. We look forward to the economic benefits that your opening will bring to the Turks and Caicos Islands and appeal to your sense of corporate responsibility to do right by the people of the TCI and our fragile environment by ensuring that they are given every opportunity to excel within your organisation, and to ensure that your operational methodology is sensitive to the environment.
It is notable that the journey to develop this resort started under a previous PNP administration amidst much ridicule and resistance. This new PNP administration will continue to give you its support in every possible way to ensure that this development is successful. However, this support is not without conditions. Those conditions are summed up in our desire to see inclusive growth and social development for the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, we are aware of the many clever legal maneuvers practiced in the TCI private sector to exclude Turks and Caicos Islanders from the economic process and put all on notice that the time has come for this to stop.
My government remains encouraged and enthusiastic about the growth we currently see in our recovering market. Our tourism industry continues to set trends and break records even as we work our way out of this pandemic environment. We are optimistic and excited about plans to upgrade and expand airports in several of our islands, welcome new development projects and support existing ones.
We are making plans to revolutionise the management of the TCI destination because the moment calls for it. We hope to be able to draw on your vast experience from the 131 countries in which you operate. Again we welcome you and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship and extend the hand of friendship and partnership on the behalf of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.