More Focus on Renewable Energy and Family Islands – Governor

RECENT accolades should not result in complacency across the TCI, Governor Peter Beckingham insisted this week.
Instead the country should look to make further improvements such as increase the focus on renewable energy and the family islands.
The Governor was talking on Tuesday (May 5) during a meeting of the TCI Hotel and Tourism Association.
It followed Providenciales being named Number One Island in the World for 2015 by TripAdvisor.
A press release from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) detailed his motivational speech.
“The TripAdvisor award, and the record tourism figures are above all a tribute to everyone engaged in the tourism industry, from resort owners to cleaning staff,” Beckingham said.
“But no one should be under any doubt that the demands on us will get ever harder, and the competition tougher.
“We need to take a careful look at both our internal procedures, as well as a number of measures which directly affect visitors.”
He said that he was well aware that the tourism industry is still not happy with the work permit system, particularly that applications take too long.
“I am pleased to hear, following a recent meeting with businesses, that the Ministry of Border Control still plans to improve the process.”
The Governor also encouraged the tourism industry and the Government to be bold in its decision making about alternative energy.
“All the energy experts who visit TCI say that we must start to advance the use of alternative sources of energy.
“If not they say we will quickly get left behind by other Caribbean countries, not to mention the rest of the world, and be in a position where we price ourselves out of the market compared to countries like Aruba, which are way ahead of us in their use of alternative energy.”
Finally Beckingham encouraged the tourism industry and the Government to do even more to promote the family islands, and to be more welcoming to visitors.
“I am constantly struck by how seldom visitors get beyond Grace Bay,” he said.
“I can understand that the typical three to four day American visitor may not have the urge to travel after arriving in Providenciales.
“But Grand Turk and the other family islands need to receive a higher profile, and as a result get more visitors than the tiny proportion they receive of stay-over tourists.”
He said that he will be interested to see how the Tourism Board proposes to spend its increased budget this year.
“I also would like to see an even more welcoming approach to visitors at Providenciales airport.
“They are literally the lifeblood of the prosperity or otherwise of everyone in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“The heads of the public service and Government departments, as well as the management of the Airport Authority, need to be constantly asking themselves whether there are ways to make the TCI welcome better than it is.
“There is still some way to go.”