What can be on South Caicos
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands, March 11th, 2013 – Opportunity is knocking on the shores of South Caicos as an additional ferry route and increased interest in tourism spreads to the Big South.
TCI Ferry, which operates ferry services to North Caicos from Providenciales five times a day, added their existing South Caicos route in April 2012, which runs between South Caicos and Providenciales on Mondays and Fridays.
“We have added service on Wednesdays in order to attract tourism to the islands,” Roger Halliday, manager of Caribbean Cruisin’, told a group of stakeholders who met on the island Wednesday, March 6, to discuss ways to grow tourist numbers to South Caicos.
The aim of the meeting was to begin a conversation about the future of South Caicos, and how the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board and Turks and Caicos National Trust can help ensure the culture and history of South Caicos are maintained and how to develop tourism to the islands.
Present for the day long excursion, which included an extensive historical tour of the island, were representatives from the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, Turks and Caicos National Trust, Caribbean Cruisin, Sailrock & East Bay developments, Big Blue Unlimited, School for Field Studies, as well as members of the local community.
“We have had tremendous success in the last two years with our ‘Beyond Provo campaign’,” said director of the Tourist Board Ralph Higgs. “We are excited about the possibilities our sister islands have.” The “Beyond Provo” concept deals with spreading the tourism industry to the sister islands as Providenciales is most often the one stop many tourists make during their visit.
“South Caicos has something good to offer,” said Norman Saunders, elected representative for South Caicos who was also present for the informal meeting. “Tourists who are interested in the history of Turks and Caicos can find a lot here.”
The National Trust, along with former South Caicos district commissioner Emily Malcolm, has expressed great interest in not only preserving the rich natural history of the island, but also promoting the cultural aspects and the environment through eco-tourism and encouragement of local artisans.
Ethylene Gibbs-Williams, director of the Turks and Caicos National Trust, spoke about sharing the island’s rich ecology with tourists. Plants that are indigenous to the TCI, such as the Turks Head cactus from which the islands’ get their name, are native to the islands.
Members of the community present at the meeting shared their ideas and willingness to work on creating a thriving tourism industry for the island.
The National Trust committed to help facilitate the training of local artistry and Eco-tourism as they have previously done with the support of the Caribbean Development Bank. Tourist Board Director Ralph Higgs committed to bringing back tourists and journalists to the island once local residents were ready to showcase their new tourism products.
“Today should be the beginning of a better South Caicos,” said Malcolm. “This is about what can be on South Caicos.”