About Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands ("TCI") is a British Overseas Territory comprising 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. The eight inhabited islands are Providenciales, Grand Turk, Middle Caicos, South Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay, Pine Cay and Parrot Cay.
TCI is comprised of two island groups, the Caicos Islands to the west and the Turks Islands to the east, separated by a 27-mile wide deep-water channel.
TCI is located to the southeast of the Bahama island chain, and is separated from the Bahamas by a 30-mile wide ocean passage. The islands are located 575 miles southeast of Miami, approximately halfway between Miami and Puerto Rico.
The landmass of TCI covers 193 square miles and is surrounded by one of the largest coral reefs in the world. Including wetlands, TCI boasts 325 square miles of national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and historical sites, protected as part of TCI’s efforts to maintain the unspoiled beauty of its islands, and to preserve the indigenous flora and fauna.
Flying time from Miami to Providenciales is approximately one hour and thirty minutes. The geographical location of TCI makes it an ideal port of call for boats travelling between Florida and the Northern Leeward Islands.
TCI is on Eastern Standard Time (GMT –5) and daylight savings time is in effect from March through November.
Pristine, exquisite beaches and a very comfortable climate, an average annual temperature of 83 degrees and average rainfall of 22 inches annually, cooled by near constant trade winds, help to explain why the islands have become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
The official language of TCI is English, the only currency is the US Dollar and there are no exchange controls over the movement of funds into or out of the jurisdiction.
There is no direct taxation – no income tax, inheritance or estate tax, property tax, capital gains tax or corporate tax. The chief sources of government revenue are customs duty and stamp duty. Other indirect taxes include hotel room and restaurant food and beverage tax, departure tax, work permit fees and fees generated by the financial services industry.
The island of Grand Turk is TCI’s capital and seat of Government.
The population of TCI is estimated to be 42,000 with the majority of residents living on the island of Providenciales which is the main business centre of TCI. Situated on the west side of the Caicos archipelago, Providenciales has an area of 38 square miles.
Tourism is easily TCI’s most important industry with financial services a distant second.
Tourism currently accounts for more than one-third of the country’s GDP in terms of direct contribution. When taking into account the multiplier impact of tourism on TCI’s economy and the indirect and induced economic contributions tourism accounts for more than 80% of TCI’s GDP, perhaps significantly more.
With the increase in tourism and investment, the resident population of Providenciales has increased to nearly 25 times what it was before the international airport opened in the mid-1980s. The resident population of Providenciales increased fivefold from 1980 to 1990, tripled from 1990 to 2001 and nearly doubled from 2001 to 2012.
Providenciales’ position as the economic centre of TCI is illustrated by the fact that nearly five times more people reside on Providenciales than on Grand Turk, the nation’s capital.
The catalyst for the development of Providenciales was the building of an international airport in 1984 and the construction of a Club Med resort. The phenomenal growth in the resident population of Providenciales and in tourism has also led to a rapid increase in land prices on Providenciales, particularly beach front property and primarily land on the world famous Grace Bay.
The 14 mile long Grace Bay beach has received several awards as the best beach in the world and is consistently named amongst the best beaches in the world by numerous highly reputable tourism bodies and publications.