The Ministry of Tourism and by extension the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board is among several CTO member states to receive a contribution from the Organizations Hurricane Relief Fund. Following storms Irma and Maria, the fund has attracted donations from individuals, industry partners, corporate sponsors and others, to aid member countries affected by the hurricanes.
In keeping with regional best practices, the CTO has provided member countries with several recommendations for use of the funds for consideration, they are as follow:
- Support the establishment of a Coordination Unit within the Ministry/Tourism Authority for Tourism Disaster Risk Management to include procuring equipment such as Satellite Phones, First Aid kits, and other emergency gear/supplies.
- Facilitate clean up and rehabilitation of key tourist sites/attractions or access roads to those sites.
- Restore signage and interpretation of visitor sites.
- Purchase auxiliary power sources for tourism sites and attractions, e.g. solar panels and solar lighting.
- Develop and implement an Emergency Response Plan for the tourism sector. This could include crafting a visitor management plan and an emergency response strategy for use before, during and after a natural disaster.
- Sponsor an identified legacy project that commemorates the community’s resilience and recovery.
The Ministry and Tourist Board will work in concert to review the areas and determine how best the funds should be utilized, in accordance with the prescribed guidelines.
Minister of Tourism Hon. Ralph Higgs commented; “We are grateful to the CTO for their support, this is an important gesture and is a true reflection of the sense of commitment to the development of member states, that is expected at vulnerable and critical times, from our colleagues within the industry and beyond.”
The Turks and Caicos Islands have been a member state of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for a number of years. The CTO is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, their objective is to provide the necessary services and information for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people. They are headquartered in Barbados and have offices in New York and London. The Caribbean Tourism Organization remains committed to the development of member states.