The future of tourism in Turks and Caicos | South Caicos, sustainability, and new infrastructure

by W. Andrew Powell
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is planning for the next era of tourism, and beyond new resorts, hotels, and experiences, the long-term strategy is to develop with a sustainable focus.

The beautiful destination already offers top luxury properties, from the The Palms, The Ritz-Carlton, and The Shore Club, to Amanyara, and Como Parrot Cay.

However there is much more to Turks and Caicos than Providenciales, and the destination wants to bring more visitors to experience the rest of the country; from Grand Turk, North and Middle Caicos, to South Caicos, and hidden gems like Salt Cay.

The future tourism in Turks and Caicos

A farmer in Middle Caicos
A farmer in Middle Caicos

There are a number of exciting new developments in Turks and Caicos.

The luxury Andaz Turks and Caicos broke ground for their new seven-story resort at Grace Bay, Providenciales. Opening in 2025, the hotel will be the first in the Hyatt family on the island, and the first Andaz property in the Caribbean.

Salterra Resort & Spa on South Caicos will open in fall 2024, and while I was visiting the unique island with the Hon. John Jamael Malcolm, Deputy Speaker and Elected Member for South Caicos, I had a chance to take an early peek at the property. Looking out over the ocean, the property promises to bring more people to the remarkable island.

South Caicos could very well be an up-and-coming destination, with two luxury resorts, including Sailrock South Caicos, charming locals, beautiful scenery, and a fascinating history.

During the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference in October 2023, hosted by Turks and Caicos, government representatives talked about their plans for the future of tourism, and how they are looking at the strategy in new ways.

After establishing their new destination marketing organization, Experience Turks & Caicos, the country is focused on marketing the destination while also developing tourism across all of the islands. This means a better focus on marketing beyond Providenciales, and planning for the future, according to Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism.

“In essence it is a pivot to a more people- and environment-centred approach where the dividends of prosperity are shared by all stakeholders,” she said, “and the natural beauty of these islands is preserved for generations to come.”

Eco-conscious development of areas like North and Middle Caicos, where there is a lot of natural beauty but not much tourism activity yet, seems like it could be important to the future of Turks and Caicos. While South Caicos is a flight away from Providenciales, North and Middle Caicos are a short boat ride away.

Likewise, making travel in the area quicker and easier is a big focus for the Turks and Caicos government.

“The ambition for Turks and Caicos is huge,” said Washington Misick, Premier of Turks and Caicos.

“The Caribbean is naturally inspiring,” he said. “The global market and tourism considers the Caribbean as a premium destination with a proven track record,” and the country plans to meet those expectations.

A new age for airports and travel

Sailrock South Caicos resort
Sailrock South Caicos resort

One of the biggest enhancements and improvements for how people get around Turks and Caicos is air travel, and Misick noted that they are working on a new airport terminal that will be a “first in class” facility. They are also looking to create port facilities to connect the islands by boat, and overall infrastructure improvements to benefit visitors and locals alike.

Turks and Caicos already benefits from direct flights between 11 U.S. cities, as well as Toronto and Montreal, and as of November, Virgin Atlantic now flies to the island from London Heathrow twice per week.

However some of the most exciting news for air travel is the new South Caicos Airport (XSC) that will be able to accept flights from within the Caribbean and internationally. Thanks to this upgraded airport, it will be easier for visitors to explore everything that South Caicos has to offer, including the quaint fishing town of Cockburn Harbour, picturesque sunsets, and the remarkable ocean views and activities.

Visiting South Caicos feels like a peek into the future, where Turks and Caicos welcomes travellers to step off the path, and discover the real heart of the people, their lifestyle, and history.

 Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism, Turks and Caicos, and Caribbean Tourism Organization Chairman Kenneth Bryan
Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism, Turks and Caicos, and Caribbean Tourism Organization Chairman Kenneth Bryan

Photos by W. Andrew Powell, The GATE

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