While the Islands are just starting to recover somewhat from the pandemic’s effects on the local economy, there is good news for the small island group. More than $73 million in investments have been planned and confirmed according to the government, including a multi-million dollar investment from Carnival Corporation.
The world’s largest cruise operator has long had an exclusive deal with Turks and Caicos, one that has now led the company to make significant further investments in the Grand Turk Cruise Port, which will be just in time for the uptick in cruise tourism which is expected to arrive in the Caribbean high-season from December onwards.
Carnival to Invest $25million in Grand Turk Port
Turks and Caicos features only one cruise port, The Grand Turk Cruise Center. When it was first constructed and opened by Carnival, the total cost of the complex was $50 million. Now Carnival Corporation is investing an additional $25 million in the area, which serves as the ideal place for shore excursions, shopping, restaurants and bars, beaches, and pools.
The announcement was made by Premier Washington Misick, who did his best to instill confidence in the general public. Cruise ships have been absent from the islands since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, which makes the investments from Carnival Corporation a welcome one.
“I have listened to your cries. I am happy to announce that we last met with Carnival on Tuesday, and (we) are finalizing a Development Agreement with Carnival Corporation. We expect to sign this within the next few days which will facilitate a $25 million investment in the port and the return on cruise ships,” Premier Misick said. “We are confident that cruise ships filled with visitors will be back in time for the high season 2021/22.”
The impact has hit home in an island group that welcomed almost 700,000 cruise ships visitors and over 100,000 crew members to its shores in 2018.
These passenger and crew visits, and additional expenditures by the cruise lines, generated a total of $86.5 million ($US) in cruise tourism expenditures in the Turks & Caicos during the 2017 and 2018 season. Making a $73 million investment even more understandable.
Further Investments will Benefit Locals
Part of the $73 million investment will go towards helping out locals who have been mainly out of work with the lack of ships. Part of this comes through a new vendor market that will be installed in the cruise port.
Other improvements include the construction of a floating dock for watersports. The government is also adding several grants so guests can enjoy water sports, ATVs, golf carts, and more when they visit with their ships.
Cruise ships are expected to return to Turks and Caicos during the 2021-2022 high season, which traditionally runs from mid-December through mid-April. From November, the first ships could be making their return to the islands.