GRAND TURK, Turks and Caicos Islands – The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is reporting record tourism arrivals for the first quarter of this year as the British Overseas Territory recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Figures released here show that 138,762 air and 173,151 cruise arrivals came to the island in the first quarter of 2022.
“The tourism industry is poised for a full recovery,” said Mary Lightbourne, the acting Director of at the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board.
She said that the first quarter of 2022 has been particularly strong, year on year, in context to the destination recovering from the decline dealt to the sector by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.
“We are indeed buoyed by these figures, in particular the month of March, which is critical to our sector. The first quarter, especially March, is traditionally excellent for winter vacationers, and has seen a robust [change] in visitor arrivals, almost paralleling the corresponding month in 2019, which saw the best pre-COVID arrivals for the sector.”
According to the figures released by the Tourist Board, the TCI recorded an average increase of approximately 33 percent in stopover arrivals through the Providenciales International Airport and FBOs, growing from the 34,057 stopover arrivals in January 2022 to 44,596 stopover arrivals in February 2022, and 60,109 in March 2022.
The 44,596 stopovers received in February this year was a significant increase of 248 percent year over year. The destination received only 12,798 stopover arrivals in February 2021; a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures put in place to contain its diffusion.
When compared to February 2020 and 2019 – both periods being pre COVID-19 pandemic – arrivals declined by 14 percent and increased by seven percent respectively. The 138,762 stopovers received in the first three months of 2022 were 98% of the 140,791 stopovers received in the first three months of 2019. The United States market continues to dominate as the main source market claiming the majority of total visitor arrivals, January through March this year.
The Tourist Board said in December last year, when the Turks and Caicos reopened its cruise sector, a total of 25,573 arrivals had been recorded.
It said this was 21 percent of the 117,827 arrivals seen in 2019. The Turks and Caicos Islands then received 173,151 cruise visitors in the first three months of 2022, which was 62 percent of the 277,280 cruise arrivals received in the same three months of 2019.
January welcomed 27 ships with 43,035 cruise visitors, whereas February received 24 ships and 50,148 cruise visitors, with March welcoming 28 ships and 79,968 cruise visitors.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted its risk advisory for cruise ship travel in March indicating that the public health measures in place on cruise ships are effective and will hopefully influence more cruise passengers.
“These arrival figures are indicative that the Turks and Caicos Islands continue to be a sort after destination. We are indeed on pace to increase our arrivals in the coming weeks and months, welcoming all our guests to our Beautiful by Nature isles,” added Lightbourne.