The Turks and Caicos Islands (the TCI), a British Overseas Territory located in the Caribbean, southeast of the Bahamas, has managed to achieve and sustain a high-end low impact, accessible, secure, tranquil, luxury tourism offer through a focus on managing growth sustainably. In part, this is thanks to policy and regulation which has worked to limit the height of buildings, preserve the unique and delicate ecosystems, and ensure that Belongers benefit from FDI.
Recent years have seen an impressive growth in tourist numbers visiting the islands, such that the international airport has been redeveloped to accommodate this increase. Yet, the focus has remained on targeting the high-end, high-spending demographic to ensure the TCI remains free from the ravages that can be wrought by a mass market tourism proposition, a path many Caribbean nations have taken in the past and lived to regret, as they see before them a devastated natural environment and seafronts peppered with monstrous carbuncles.
The ongoing development of the Turks and Caicos Islands to its fullest potential goes hand in hand with safeguarding the resource over the long term for future generations, such that there is a raft of measures in place to conserve and manage vulnerable marine habitats. Meanwhile, the TCI’s headline attractions, such as Grace Bay beach and the world’s 3rd largest barrier reef continue to appeal, while the serviced accommodation sector is also in rude health, epitomised by the likes of Seven Stars on Grace Bay beach, Amanyara, Blue Haven and Parrot Cay.
"With Government and commerce united in their understanding of the importance of sensitive development to ensure long-term prosperity, the TCI’s future would seem to be assured."
The tourism strategy, which sees high-rise buildings kept to a minimum, extends to the residential architecture too, ensuring an array of innovative low-impact, low-rise properties that leverage the landscape without dominating it. It is a sought after cocktail, meaning the TCI has become something of a mecca for those High Value Residents it looks to court.
Ron Shaw at RA Shaw Designs is the undisputed go-to man in the TCI for all such property requirements. His is a portfolio synonymous with exquisite, yet sensitive development, ensuring he remains the first and last word on architecture and design on the islands.
This capacity to reconcile growth in the tourism sector with the preservation of its status as one of the last remaining unspoiled paradises in the world is enhanced by the Protected Areas System, which ring-fences from development National Parks, Nature Reserves, Sanctuaries, and Areas of Historic Interest, an initiative which sits perfectly within an integrated Government approach that sees it work in partnership with various NGOs, the private sector and pertinent agencies to deliver on common goals. In addition, there is a requirement for developers to plant ten trees for every tree that is disturbed or destroyed.
As former Director of the Tourist Board, Ralph Higgs explains, “the TCI has taken a quality-driven approach to investment backed by National Papers such as the Environmental Charter (that) includes the mandatory submission of Environmental Impact Assessments at the start of the development proposal.” With Government and commerce united in their understanding of the importance of sensitive development to ensure long-term prosperity, the TCI’s future would seem to be assured. Moreover, with the TCI also looking to develop low-impact niches of recreational, sports, wellness and medical tourism, its reputation as a quality-driven, high-end destination is only set to be enhanced further. Such offers should not only appeal to the TCI’s near neighbour, the United States, but also to new untapped markets, such as China and Japan, with their high volume of HNWIs and increasing investment interest in the Caribbean region.