Vendors who ply their wares on Sapodilla Bay Beach in Providenciales are apparently at the heart of the Beach and Coastal Vending Policy that the Washington Misick Administration is currently designing.
The policy will include the acquiring of adjacent land to the vending area to eliminate cluster, to build kiosks, to construct a parking lot and to erect restroom facilities, while ensuring that activities are regulated so that the high-end tourism product does not lose its luster.
The government made the announcement via press statement over the weekend.
“As it relates to Sapodilla Bay, the Government has conducted a thorough assessment of the beach to ascertain its capacity to facilitate a safe and agreeable level of activity for the general public,” the statement said in part.
The statement added that while government has committed to ensuring that the vendors earn a meaningful part of the tourism pie, the process will be achieved overnight.
“Initial plans are for the government to acquire additional land to erect a permanent structure for vendors that will improve the regulation of vending at the Sapodilla Bay beach and provide a more orderly vending experience amidst other beach activities; however, this process will take time,” the statement further noted, adding that government has already identified the adjacent land it will utilize on behalf of the vendors.
“TCIG has already identified an area of crown land near the beach and will build restroom facilities, vending kiosks and an appropriate allocation for parking. It has been agreed that as of 1 December 2021 vendors will operate from this location until further notice,” the press statement said.
The government said it recognized that there are various challenges in the management of this sector and was working to resolve them.
The government noted that developing vending facilities at various sites across the islands is part of a new commitment of its regime and a continued commitment to improve and expand the country’s economy, while prioritizing the development of the MSME sector through a comprehensive policy with a focus on beach and coastal vendors.
“Given the potential for small business opportunities in the beach and coastal vending sector in recent years, this Government intends to focus on improving the management and regulation of the sector.
“The goal through the development of the Beach and Coastal Vending Policy includes provisions to license legitimate business operators in coastal and beach areas as part of that regulatory framework to effectively and orderly manage all beach and coastal vending in line with our luxury branding,” the government said.
The government was quick to point that while a moratorium on news coastal and beach vending will go into effect, made it clear that the Beach and Coastal Vending Policy was not to ban the current operation on small businesses.
“While the government evaluates the carrying capacity of our coastal areas, a moratorium on new business operations in coastal areas shall come into effect immediately.
“This policy was developed with the best interests of all stakeholders in mind, and the immediate aim is to create a safe and enjoyable interaction with our visitors without diminishing the guest experience or undermining the integrity of brand Turks and Caicos. Through this policy, we will also ensure profitable yields for business owners,” the statement concluded.