Status: UK overseas territory
Population: 32,000 (2006 census estimate)
Time: GMT Minus 0500 - 0400 Hrs
Currency: US Dollar

Turks and Caicos Islands form the southern tip of the Bahamas chain in the north of the Caribbean region. Their nearest neighbour to the south is the Dominican Republic. They comprise two groups of about 40 islands. The Turks Islands take their name from the red flowers of a type of indigenous cactus which, to 17th-century Spanish sailors, resembled the headgear of Turkish men. Two of the eight Turks Islands are inhabited: Grand Turk and Salt Cay. Principal islands of the Caicos group (Spanish cayos: cays) are: South Caicos, East Caicos, Middle (or Grand) Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales and West Caicos.

GMT minus 5hr. The clock is advanced by one hour from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
Area : 500 sq. km.

Main settlements:
Cockburn Town (capital) on Grand Turk; and Cockburn Harbour, straddling South and East Caicos. The most populous islands are Providenciales, Grand Turk, North Caicos, South Caicos and East Caicos.

The islands are all flat sandy cays, nowhere higher than 75m. The Turks Islands passage, a deep channel 35km across, separates the two island groups.

Constant south-east trade winds freshen the air in the otherwise tropical climate. Rainfall is variable, about 525mm on Grand Turk and generally higher in the Caicos Islands. Hurricanes are a danger.

There are surfaced and unsurfaced roads on all inhabited islands. The main seaports are Grand Turk, Salt Cay, Providenciales and Cockburn Harbour. Regular cargo and postal services operate to/from Miami. The country has three international airports, on Grand Turk, Providenciales and South Caicos. There are landing strips on Salt Cay, Pine Cay, Parrot Cay, Middle Caicos and North Caicos.

SOCIETY:    Population: 32,000 (2006 census estimate); 12,350 at the 1990 census; population density 64 per sq km. The population has grown rapidly due to immigration from other Caribbean countries, especially Haiti, including a substantial number of illegal immigrants, making it difficult to estimate the population; growth 2.9% p.a.; birth rate 22 per 1,000 people; life expectancy 75 years.
Some 60% of the populations are Turks and Caicos Islands nationals, around 20% from Haiti, 7% from The Bahamas and 4% from the USA. Most of the people are of African descent

Mainly Christians (Baptists 40% in 1990, Anglicans 18%, Methodists 16%, Church of God 12%).

The official and national language is English.

The newspapers are Turks and Caicos News (weekly) and Turks and Caicos Free Press (weekly). The government runs a domestic radio-broadcasting service to all the islands from Grand Turk (Radio Turks and Caicos). Cable TV is available on Grand Turk and Providenciales.

The general hospital is on Grand Turk; it has a maternity ward and a geriatric block, an operating theatre and a laboratory with X-ray facilities. There are clinics, staffed by nurses and visited fortnightly by medical officers, on Salt Cay, South Caicos, Middle Caicos and North Caicos; there is a full-time medical officer on Providenciales and a health complex offering 24-hour secondary health care. Dental services are provided at a dental clinic and visits by dental professionals to the clinics. Further medical back-up is available in The Bahamas, Jamaica and the USA. Infant mortality was an estimated 16 per 1,000 live births in 2005.

Public Holidays:
New Year, Commonwealth Day (second Monday in March), National Heroes' Day (last Monday in May), Queen's Official Birthday (the Monday following one of the first three Saturdays in June, in line with the UK), Emancipation Day (1 August), National Youth Day (last Friday in September), Columbus Day (October), International Human Rights Day (24 October), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday and Easter Monday.

GDP US$570m (2005)

Arrivals 173,000 (2004)

Tourism and financial services have become the main economic activities in Turks and Caicos Islands. Reflecting the openness of the economy, its close links with the USA and use of the US dollar as domestic currency, domestic prices tend to follow US prices. The economy was sluggish in 2001–02, but expanded strongly in 2003–05, reaching 13.9% in 2005.
Government economic policy continues to stress growth and diversification, allocating further resources to the promotion of tourism and the offshore sector.

The USA is the main trading partner; the main export is seafood products, including lobster and conch; and main imports food/beverages/tobacco, manufactured goods and construction materials.

For more information on TCI, please visit:
  1. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Templates/YearbookInternal.asp?NodeID=140431
  2. http://www.unesco.org/education/wef/countryreports/turks_caicos/rapport_1.html
  3. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/north-central-america/turks-caicos-islands
  4. Government Website : http://turksandcaicosislands.fco.gov.uk/en


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