The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board has announced the final compilation of visitor arrivals for 2012
. The data includes passenger information collected from ports of entry (including the local FBO) and via the Grand Turk Cruise Center.
Overall passenger counts for 2012 fell just short of the 1,009,720 passenger arrival mark accomplished in 2011. An aggregate of 975,583 visitors of which 676,647 (69%) arrived via cruise ship and 298,936 (31%) comprised stopover visitors.
According to data obtained from the Grand Turk Cruise Center for calendar year 2012 (January-December) the total number of ship calls were 261 (versus 270 in 2011) and cruise passenger arrivals were 676,647 an increase of 3.2% over 2011 which stood at 655,497. Information released from the Board’s statistical department also shows that approximately 298,936 stop-over visitors came to the Islands via commercial and private flights. This number represents a decrease of approximately 15% from the 354,223 stop-over passengers that came to TCI in 2011.
In 2012, on a weekly basis, an average of 50 commercial flights operated into Providenciales International Airport. These include American Airlines, US Airways, JetBlue, Air Canada, West Jet, United, Delta and British Airways from various major airports in the USA, Canada and the UK. Private jet travel accounted for some 3% of stop-over visitors. According to the FBO operators travel by private jet also saw a decrease in 2012.
Further analysis of stop-over arrival data for 2012 showed that the USA continues to be our largest source market with 229,577 visitors or 79% of the total. Visitors from Canada totaled 35,253 representing 12%. Europe and the rest of the world contributed the remaining 25,406 passenger arrivals or 9% of long stay guests.
According to the Tourist Board, the decrease in arrivals in 2012 can be attributed to a number of known factors; including two days of industrial action, an outbreak of the norovirus affecting arrivals in the short term and the recent passage of Hurricane Sandy, which saw the closure of airports across the Eastern Seaboard and Tri-State areas that are the major source markets for the TCI. Other factors which would have contributed to this decrease are the continued sluggish economies of Europe and the US as well as a 25% cut in the Board’s operating budget in fiscal 2011/2012.
Director Ralph Higgs had this to say, “While obviously disappointed that we were unable to expand on the record breaking numbers of arrivals achieved in 2011, I feel confident that the new year will bring new vigour and an increase in numbers of visitors to TCI. The challenges that we faced throughout the year were met and overcome with renewed determination to continue to take Turks and Caicos message to the world. Brand TCI still remains the destination of choice for the more discerning traveler.”