If you’re looking at the frost and daydreaming of a beach idyll, then the Turks and Caicos islands might just be the hot ticket right now.
The lesser-known Caribbean hideaway was yesterday voted the globe’s leading beach destination at the World Travel Awards (WTA), dubbed the Oscars of the travel industry.
Characterised by blue skies, turquoise seas and endless white sands, the average temperature of 27-29 C from November to May makes it a popular winter sun destination.
Paradise: One of the beaches that helped the Turks and Caicos to its award
Grace Bay Beach, on the island of Providenciales, the main tourist hub of the region, had already been named the Caribbean’s leading beach destination in the WTA’s regional heats in September.
At that ceremony, Dr Hubert Fulford, chairman of the Turks and Caicos islands tourist board, said:
‘We are a destination that is not totally crowded. There is a freedom that we exude. There is a love and an expression of happiness and friendship that comes from our people.’
The islands completed their world domination at the WTA’s grand final in New Delhi, India, last night, beating off stiff competition from Cancun, Mexico, Cape Town in South Africa, Rio de Janeiro’s
Copacabana, in Brazil, and even the Maldives.
Beak perfection: Parrot Cay was opened in 1998 and offers low-key luxury to well-heeled visitors
Ralph Higgs, director of tourism for the islands, expressed his ‘delight’.
He commented: ‘This is further testament to what we here in the Turks and Caicos have known all along, and the world is beginning to find out. The beauty and tranquility of our archipelago is now centre stage for all to see and we look forward to personally welcoming all.’
Graham Cooke, World Travel Awards president and founder, added: ‘The Turks and Caicos continues to build its reputation as the definitive low-key luxury hideaway, offering stunning beaches away from the public glare.’
The Turks and Caicos, 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, is made up of 40 different islands and cays, although only eight are inhabited.
English is spoken and the US dollar used. Apart from relaxing on pristine beaches, tourists can enjoy bird and whale watching, and visit the only conch farm in the world.
Parrot Cay, a so-called ’boutique island’, has been frequented by superstar celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Britney Spears, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bruce Willis and fashion designer Donna Karan.