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Thursday 18th April 2013

GrandTurk, the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), is the latest city to invite Gordon 'Butch' Stewart to establish his Sandals/Beaches resorts there in hopes of stimulating tourism growth.

The call was made by the president of the Providenciales Chamber of Commerce, Tina Fenimore, who was the first to establish a hotel on Grand Turk and is the foremost private sector spokesperson for the quaint island capital.

"We would like very much to see Mr Stewart set up here because it would do a great deal for our tourism," said Fenimore. "We have already seen what Beaches has done for Provo (Providenciales, the largest of the chain of islands) and the TCI in general."

"Grand Turk is waiting for something like this," said Fenimore, who makes time to act as personal tour guide for special groups around the 18th-century British fort that woos visitors with its historic old world charm that includes narrow alleyways and abandoned cannons on the waterfront.
Asked to react to Fenimore's invitation, Stewart said his organisation was flattered.

"I can't pretend to be surprised because we get these requests all the time from the Caribbean islands where we don't yet have our hotels. It is a clear indication that the Beaches/Sandals brand has become more than a Jamaican brand and is embraced by the entire region," Stewart noted.
Sandals/Beaches resorts currently operate in Antigua-Barbuda, St Lucia, Cuba, Turks and Caicos (Provo), The Bahamas and Jamaica. Its newest resort in Grenada is near its official opening.

Fenimore said that with over a quarter of the hotel rooms on Provo, the preserve of "Beaches allows for the destination to capitalise on their marketing might as well as providing the island with increased airlift due to their presence. Government tax collections benefit from the number of guests that arrive on Providenciales and so do taxi drivers, among others businesses".

She said there were obviously concerns that with such a large operator, the balance of power could be skewed at times, where Beaches could be able to gain preferential treatment from government, airlines and other entities, "due to their footprint and financial prowess".

"But as a company though, we feel that Beaches is a great asset to the Turks and Caicos Islands. They have demonstrated their leadership in a responsible manner, as well as providing resources for several charitable causes," added Fenimore.

"That's the kind of operation we need in Grand Turk."

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