I have been following this crime story for a few days to see how it played out. I still get news feeds daily from the Turks and Caicos Islands so it is still in media attention.
Well an American tourist was shot during a robbery in Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. Not sure where exactly but since I know the area well, I can only suspect his 143 A.M. Friday morning walk was in the commercial area and he was heading back to his hotel. (Google this to get more info)
Long story short, after triage in Provo, he was transferred by air ambulance to the States to get the needed treatment for the gun shot. He is recovering and will likely be transported to his home in Alabama for his needed rehab.
This sad news is nothing new. Crime and tourism is still common, and despite the relative crime-free TCI, the State Department reports "Crime in TCIS is low but increasing."
The point here is that we shouldn't put our guard down when travelling for vacation. Some research has even found that domestic tourism and international tourism are rated the same as far as safety is concerned (Floyd et al., 2004).
The second point here is an economic one. The TCI is not inexpensive. The average summer price (off-season) for hotels in Grace Bay is probably $500 a night. Consider that when you pick up a local newspaper and see job advertisements offering $6.50-$7.00 US for general labour or housekeeping positions. What, don't read the local paper while on vacation?
Let me conclude this by saying I hope the gentleman recovers from the crime and that they capture the individual responsible. But in order for crime to be reduced, we must adopt a more equitable policy in tourism. The United Nations World Tourism Organization reports:
"Tourism is one of the strongest drivers of world trade and prosperity. Poverty alleviation is one of the greatest global challenges. Despite turbulent times for the world’s economy, these basic facts are unlikely to change. Focusing the wealth creating power of tourism on people most in need remains an immense task and opportunit(y)."
Source: Floyd, M. F., Gibson, H., Pennington-Gray, L., & Thapa, B. (2004). The effect of risk perceptions on intentions to travel in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 15(2-3), 19-38.