Invest TCI focused on economic diversification
...announces campaign for international financial services centre
MUSGROVE...we embarked on a campaign to strengthen our financial services sector.

IN a move that will shift the Turks and Caicos Islands’ (TCI) economy from tourism dependence, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands CEO Angela Musgrove said the British Overseas Territory has embarked on a campaign to become an international financial services sector.

“We embarked on a campaign to strengthen our financial services sector,” she told Jamaica Observer in an interview. In a few short weeks you should be seeing the launch of our new campaign,” she added.

Musgrove said that the country recognises that it has the resources to support offshore banking as one of its niches. However, she stopped short of disclosing what other niches Invest Turks and Caicos will pursue, saying these will be revealed in short order when the agency launches its campaign.

At present, Invest TCI has four key areas of focus: stimulating foreign direct investment; stimulating and supporting investment in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); advocating for and supporting a better business environment; and promoting exports.

The Invest TCI CEO is also intent on diversifying the tourism product to ensure sustainability of the sector and spread tourism dollars throughout the entirety of the territory.

“So, in terms of tourism product, we’re looking to diversify it by creating linkages within our industry, particularly as we want to spread development to our smaller islands…because our tourism product is primarily in Providenciales. So we want to look at diversification of that industry in other islands,” Musgrove told Sunday Finance.

Providenciales is known for its luxury tourism with state-of the-art hotels dotting the Bight Settlement to Grace Bay corridor in the north and high-end villas in Long Bay to the south.

Musgrove shared, however, that other islands in the archipelago have their unique brand identity and value proposition. Grand Turk, for example, is known for its cruise port centre, North and Middle Caicos for ecotourism, and South Caicos for health and wellness retreats.

But to develop and enhance these islands, Musgrove explained, will require identifying linkages in order to build out an ecosystem to support the tourism industry in each island. With the help of former director of the Tourism Linkages Network at the Jamaica Tourist Board, Carolyn Riley, Invest TCI has started developing a linkages strategy to identify value chains between tourism and other industries.

“We know that agro-tech and agribusiness will also be a sector that we need to develop, so we are channelling our resources into that as well,” she shared, adding that the aim is put a “dent in imports” while producing as much as is possible locally to meet the demand of the tourism sector.

While admitting that reducing imports to support the lucrative tourism industry is an immense task, she said it is a mandate and Invest TCI has embraced the challenge.

Along with banking and financial services, Musgrove also said there are opportunities for diversification and linkages in real estate and construction.

Although the Turks and Caicos Islands has a citizenship by investment programme — granting permanent resident status to individuals who invest in homes and businesses — that has been a driver of real estate development, Musgrove said that was not a priority. Instead, there is a need for housing to meet the demand of expatriates working in the territory.

“Our real estate sector right now is one that is booming and we don’t expect that, that is going to be a long trend, but while we can capitalise on that, we want to do that,” the Invest TCI CEO told Sunday Finance.

Musgrove noted, however, that as a small island State with limited resources, the agency will need to streamline the areas it will target for investments.

BY JOSIMAR SCOTT Senior reporter josimars@jamaicaobserver.com

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