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Press Statement by the Governor of The Turks and Caicos Islands Including Report from
The Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association Largely 'Business as Usual'
for the Majority of its Member Hotels and Resorts"

GRAND TURK, Turks and Caicos Islands; Monday, September 15, 008 – "It is now one week since Hurricane Ike hit the TCI. Its impact was felt on all islands; but particularly severely in some.

Mercifully, we came through the hurricane with no casualties. The immediate post-hurricane situation was not easy, given the breakdown in communications and the consequent difficulty in establishing contact between the islands of the territory. 

This complicated the task of coordination and the important job of communicating with the public. I see this as an essential task from now on, not only at the headline/policy level, but also at the nitty-gritty one of detailed information on such key issues as water availability and supply or the distribution of tarpaulins.

Overall, however, I think we can look back over the past week with considerable satisfaction. The situation is stabilising and becoming more organised and essentials such as water, food and shelter are being met. 

Here, in Grand Turk for example, the city water plant is operational and water is available at the main distribution point on Hospital Road between 8.00 am and 1.00 pm. Tropical Shipping is expected today with a shipment of water and 5000 additional tarpaulins for distribution tomorrow. 

The health service is functional and health care is available. Food distribution continues (through the Red Cross and the Churches); but food is increasingly also available in the stores. This is particularly important as a sign that the economy is getting back to normal in the most affected islands; and the reopening of the banks is playing a key role in this respect.

Progress is being made with the restoration of electricity with TCI work crews reinforced by teams from the region. Inevitably, full restoration of the network will take some time and priority has had to be given to critical facilities such as hospitals and airports. Every effort is being made to open schools (even if not every class in some islands) from Monday. This is particularly important for those students preparing for examinations. The public service will be back at work on Monday, providing a service to the public.

With the emergency phase stabilised, the focus will increasingly shift to sourcing materials to repair and rebuild houses and other buildings damaged or destroyed by Ike and to getting on with the reconstruction and rehabilitation process."

Source: The Turks and Caicos Islands Government Information Service


PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands, Sep 11, 2008 - The Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) reports that it is largely 'business as usual' for the majority of its member properties and services catering to tourism in the island chain. Most properties in Providenciales, the main tourism center, suffered only minimal damage during the recent Hurricanes Hanna and Ike that passed by the islands. Greater damage was experienced in the outlying islands of Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay.

Power has been restored throughout most of Providenciales, and airline service by major carriers - including American Airlines, US Airways and Delta Airlines - has resumed on regularly scheduled levels to Providenciales International Airport. Structural damage on Providenciales was minimal and no major beach erosion or environmental issues have been reported.

"We were extremely fortunate to have avoided a major hit to our tourism product, and are now prepared to resume business as usual in most places," said Caesar Campbell, CEO of the TCHTA. "While September and October are typically slower months, and some properties are routinely closed for renovations during this time, we encourage travelers to consider the Turks & Caicos this fall and winter. As our country depends largely on tourism, it is important that we keep this economic engine running strongly as we work to help the less fortunate islands in the Turks & Caicos recover."

OPENING STATUS OF HOTELS As of Sept 12, 2008

Alexandra  - October 4
Amanyara - TBA
Beaches - November 15
Caribbean Paradise Inn - Open
Club Med - Open
Comfort Suites - Open
Coral Gardens - September 21
Grace Bay Club - October 1
Grace Bay Suites - September 22
Hollywood Beach Suites - Open
Le Vele - Open
Meridian Club/Pine Cay - November 1
Neptune Villas - October 1
Nikki Beach - October 1
Northwest Point - October 1
Ocean Club Resorts - October 24
Regent Grand - Open
The Regent Palms - Open
Parrot Cay - September 21
Point Grace - October 18
Queen Angel - Open
Reef Residences - TBA
Royal West Indies - Open
Sibonne Beach Hotel - October 3
Seven Stars - Open
The Sands - Open
The Somerset - Open
Trade Winds - Open
Turks and Caicos Club - October 1
Turtlewatch - November 1 
Tuscany - Open
Villa Renaissance - Open
West Bay Club - Open
Windsong - Open

Tourism operators such as scuba shops, fishing charters and others are also restoring their services back up to normal Fall season levels, and visitors can expect minimal if any, interruption from most service providers.

Smaller properties in the outer islands are still assessing damage and the TCHTA will maintain an updated status of all properties on its web site, www.turksandcaicoshta.com. A decision on cruise ship schedules will be made soon, after a more complete assessment of damages to Carnival Cruise Ship Center in Grand Turk has been made, although preliminary reports indicate that structure weathered the storms well.
 

Grace Bay Spared Major Damage after Hurricane Ike

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands, September 12, 2008 –  Following Hurricane Ike over the weekend, The Somerset On Grace Bay is fully open and operational, and welcoming guests back to its 4.6 acres of idyllic white-sand beachfront in a luxury resort setting.  The resort’s signature restaurant, O’Soleil, has also resumed service and was the first restaurant to open on Grace Bay.

Karen Whitt, General Manager of The Somerset, reports that, “The island of Providenciales and our area resorts on Grace Bay were fortunate to have been spared any major damage from the recent weather situation.  We never lost electricity and our pristine beachfront and lush resort grounds withstood the storm.  All of our guest services are operating in their usual top form.  The sun is back and so are our guests.”

A board member of the Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, as well as Director and active member of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA), Karen Whitt, also a member of the local Red Cross organization, is involved in many of the island relief efforts.  

The Somerset General Manager, Karen Whitt, is available at 649-232-1010, or by email at kwhitt@thesomerset.com

Travelers are encouraged to contact their airlines, resorts and hotel directly to confirm reservations, and to monitor the TCHTA web site for more information.

Persons interested in making donations to the hurricane relief efforts in Turks and Caicos can contact 1-800-477 IKE4 (4534) or through www.tcihurricaneinfo.com.

About the TCHTA
Through involvement and cooperation with its tourism partners, the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) is dedicated to the achievement of sustainable growth in tourism for the benefit of its members and the wider community, while protecting and enhancing the unique character and environment of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). The TCHTA consists of more than 90 businesses and organizations, including the major resorts and property developments in TCI, as well as other businesses supporting the tourism and development industries. Additional information, including membership applications, can be found at www.tchta.com.

SOURCE: The Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association

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Contact:

The Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association 
Caesar Campbell, +1-649-231-6607 
caesar@turksandcaicoshta.com 

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