March 28, 2011
Caribbean Spring Break
I was incredibly fortunate to spend my Spring Break in Turks & Caicos (TCI), a small chain of Carribean islands near Hispanola (the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti). Vacations like these are always interesting from a land use perspective. We spent our time on the island of Providencials (aka "Provo"), which is the most visited island in the chain. In fact, tourism plays a large role in TCI's economy. As there are no fresh water sources (all water comes from desalinization) and no land-based natural resources to speak of, the economy is largely dependent on tourism, fishing, and "offshore financial services."
The development on Provo shows signs of the boom and bust cycle in the world economy. In fact, we went on a paddle boarding excursion that left from a brand new (but closed) marina with no boats. There were also many, many luxury houses standing empty and for sale all over the island. However, it's my guess that the market will rebound more quickly than other parts of Latin America and the Carribean, as TCI has a stable government (it is still a British protectorate), the currency is the dollar, the language is English, and if you can get used to driving on the left, it's a pretty spectacular place to be.
Jamie Baker Roskie
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