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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI): A little shangri-la

Just one little casino, no advertised strip joints, no noticeably wild-and-crazy nightlife...  There are just beautiful beaches, beautiful people and a diversity of properties from the top-of-the-line to the affordable. 

Perhaps we should consider these islands to be a total population of about 50,000 (46,000± residents and 4000± per day from over one million guests per year).  Hattie and Bruce, the founders of this television series, spent a week on this little island chain. We credit Bill O'Reilly.  Perhaps it was in his segment, The Tip of the Day, of his evening television report, Bill suggested we all take a break and discover Turks & Caicos Islands.  We had never heard of TCI prior to that night.

First impressions count.  This little island cluster, formally known as a British Overseas Territory, is just a little over an hour flight from Miami. It's just north of Hispaniola, northwest of Puerto Rico, and at the southern end of the Bahamas. It has much more diversity and sophistication than one would expect of a place with such a small indigenous population (reported as low as 31,000 and as high as 50,000).  Of course, the guests who come to visit each year create part of fabric and texture of diversity.  Plus, these islands have a history of over three-hundred years with the British, a short bit of that under the flag of the Bahamas and then later Jamaica, and an even shorter flavorings with the French and Spanish.  That's a lot of attention.  Today,  these islands do not lack of any of the modern amenities.  Also, I did not see any abject poverty here. If there is any, it is off the main roads.

Link opens in Google maps.

As first time guests, please give us some freedom of imagination to make some first-impression observations:

1. Customs control is slow and the customs people make very little effort to welcome and guide arriving guests. That may be totally unfair. Where in the world have such people ever done anything like that? Nowhere to my knowledge! So, why here?  Answer:  Why not?  Why not have people begin getting their orientation to the islands while they are waiting in line?

2. There are about eight primary islands and about 300 smaller islands.  We arrived in Providenciales, better known as Provo. There are several bare airport walls just waiting for maps of the area to teach visitors and plant ideas that tempt people to venture out of their hotels to see more of these islands.  I would guess that most people only go to one island. The airplane lands on a single runway. In fact we taxied back to the terminal on that landing strip. The Provo airport is located on the western edge of the island. There are airstrips on at least five of the bigger islands.   The most eastern island is Grand Turk; that's where the capital, Cockburn Town. Yet, getting from Provo to Grand Turk generally requires flying. It is not easy and it seems most guests do not venture far from where they come onto land.

3.  There are no obvious organized tours that will take you to most of the main islands.  Over on the Grand Turk there is a huge marine center where world-class cruises are able to make a stop.  One might guess that the cruise ship people never venture off Grand Turk.  It seems that a series of "all-island" tours that go east and west could be organized.   That is truly an uniformed, first impression.

4.  Once through customs, departure to the hotels from the airport was easy and quick. The driver was friendly and informed. Yet, it all could have been quite a bit different. The airport is off on the side of the island. It lacks any grand first impression. There could be several just based on the symbols on the flag that really bears to be more part of the entire first impression.  There could be hundreds of Turks Head cactus on the first quarter mile drive from the airport. Conch shells are plentiful and artists renderings of the conch metaphor could add a dimension of mystery and intrigue to the islands. I'll come back to this first impression.

5.  Consider having contests that reward people as honorary citizens.  Out of those one million-plus people a year, many are very creative, very generous, and anxious to contribute ideas and resources to make a people even more proud of their lands. It seems natural that someday this little place will become a country. As all the citizens take initiative toward their own personal fiscal independence, the British will stand proud and TCI will have become a microcosm to study what it means to live successfully. Of course, TCI would then join with Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica as part of the UK Commonwealth of Nations

Of all the guests who come here, there would be an abundance of talent to help develop an indigenous economic engine. Those guests just need to be invited to share their concepts and ideas. People who introduce the latest in power generation, water desalinization, and water creation could be readily recognized.

Also, people who "Take the Tour" of five or six of the big islands could be recognized. 

People would enjoy being an honorary citizen of TCI. They could be cited for their expertise and for their knowledge of a particular aspect of TCI and then be appointed to be among the volunteer TCI ambassadors throughout the world regarding that subject.

6.  Openness, sometimes called transparency, could help everybody have a better vacation experience. All websites within TCI could easily carry the same daily calendar of special activities with exacting times and descriptions of events.  All your trusted hotel-and-events specialists could have secure access to help keep it timely and informative.  There was a fair amount of incompleteness within the information around  the third annual Maskanoo Festival (December 26, 2012); although the event was hugely successful, it could have been even more so.

Within these shared web pages as well as within the airport could be that listing of the supporting ministers of government and the Premier with pictures and special email addresses whereby they can get in touch by answering specific questions very well.

7.  Turks Head Institutes, Conch Workshops and Spiny Lobster Breeding Grounds.  Besides being a symbol of the country, the Turks' Head Cactus might also be studied for its medicinal, therapeutic, and/or food values for mixing drinks, sustaining health,  and fertilizing.   The Conch Workshop could be an on-going development platform and location  for artworks based around the conch.  Integrated studies of its use as a musical instrument could prove to be interesting.  Once an entire scale is created, perhaps an octave can be introduced and the conch could become part of an orchestral  arrangements.  A future national anthem might incorporate these sounds.

Working page on the leadership of the Turks and Caicos Islands

8.  Recognizing the best businesses of TCI.  After 14 years of weekly productions within hundreds of different markets throughout the world,  no matter where we go, we automatically begin asking business leaders about their best businesses.  Even before arriving on TCI, I had begun a little primer list.  Typically we ask the key business advocates (mayors, business editors, chambers of commerce, economic development).  Each recommends as many as five businesses in as many as five different business categories.  The initial list involves chambers of commerce, trade associations, and business editors.   I am going to work on getting that list to see if a couple of episodes could be done.  Nothing tells me so far that TCI is any different than any other part of the world.

9.  Insight-Sensitivity Schools.  The Parrot Cay hotel, particularly that of the Como Group, sets a truly unique standard for excellence.  The Como Foundation supports indigenous business development especially for woman.  I am confident that Stacy Cox of the hotel association and the foundation would support such a development whereby the standards for all hotels are constantly being ratcheted up by people specially trained as the best within their current hotel group.  The associations' Destinations guide is an excellent platform upon which to build.

Much more to come...  including more maps and pictures

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