PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos -- Turks and Caicos continues to
rebound from the post-9/11 slump, with new airlift, hotel and
restaurant openings, novel attractions and a packed events calendar
According to the Turks and Caicos Tourism Board, visitor
arrivals last November grew 46% compared with the same month in
2001, followed by a 27% increase in December and a 26% hike in
arrivals in January compared with the year before.
"These figures are very encouraging to all of us ... because
[they prove] that we have started to rebound," said director of
tourism John Skippings.
Visitor arrivals will be fueled further by new weekly port calls
in Grand Turk by Festival Cruises through May.
But bigger transport news is in the air. Starting this month, US
Airways is increasing to daily service the four-times-weekly
service to Providenciales from Charlotte, N.C. introduced last
American and Delta also introduced or increased service from
major U.S. markets.
To handle more air traffic, the airport at Providenciales is
being expanded with the construction of another terminal, while an
airport is under construction on Grand Turk for international
On the five-star resort front, the Turks and Caicos Club opened in
December on Grace Bay in Providenciales; the property boasts the
gourmet restaurant Simba.
In addition, the Grace Bay Club said it will add 34 luxury
condominium residences, a spa and luxury amenities. The Trade Winds
Condotel opened, as did the Alexandra Resort and Spa, home to The
Over on the less-populated -- and less visited -- South Caicos,
work began on two new developments set for completion by year's
end: the 100-room Tucker Hill hotel and the 400-unit High Point
For clients not content to sit on the beach, Turks and Caicos
this year offers an extended roster of activity and event
Jacques Cousteau wannabes should head for the new Undersea
Explorer semi-submarine operated by Providenciales-based Caicos
Setting out from the Tiki Hut Restaurant at Turtle Cove Marina,
the vessel offers three reef-viewing trips per day; tickets cost
$39 for adults and $29 for children under age 12.
Meanwhile, on Grand Turk, Oasis Divers (at www.oasisdivers.com) bought a new whale-watching boat
and kayaks, and Jagan Tours in Salt Cay (at www.saltcay.org/saltcaytours) began whale-watching
Clients pooped from all the activity can retire to the new
April's Spa on Providenciales, which joins Point Grace's Thalgo
Spa, the Serenity Spa at Coral Gardens and Spa Tropique, with
treatment centers at Ocean Club, the Sands and Miramar Resort.
Turks and Caicos is putting increased emphasis on events and
cultural tourism this year, said the tourism board's Skippings,
adding, "Events give our visitors a sense of community spirit and
the culture of our islands."
Highlights this year include the Ripsaw Music Festival at the
end of August, which will gather performers of this local style
from across the islands.
This year's festival on Grand Turk will run Aug. 29 and 30.
Other events this spring, summer and fall include:
• April 21: Kite-flying competition, Providenciales.
•May 22 to 24: South Caicos Regatta.
• June 11 to 14: Conch Carnival, Grand Turk.
• July 7 to 13: Caicos Classic All-Release Fishing.
• Oct. 10 to 12: Turks and Caicos Amateur Open Championship,
Providenciales Golf Club.
For details, call the Turks and Caicos Tourism Board at (954)
568-6588 or visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com.