Turks and Caicos Tourism officials are urging visitors to leave if they have the means to do so safely. Visitors unable to leave or who are opting to remain within the destination are urged to stay inside during the storm and pay attention to the public advisories issued by the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME).
The Turks and Caicos DDME and The Bahamas Department of Meteorology has issued Alert #4 according to the latest release. A hurricane watch is now in effect for the Southeast Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. This includes the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Islands of Inagua, Acklins and Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Long Cay, Samana Cay and Ragged Island. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions could affect the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeast Bahamas within 48 hours.
It is important to note that the Turks and Caicos Islands is an archipelago with more than 40 islands and cays. All hotels, resorts and villas throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands have activated their hurricane programs and are taking all necessary precautions to protect visitors and residents, as safety remains the highest priority.
In accordance with the shutdown protocol, tourism officials have begun urging visitors to make preparations to leave the Islands. Visitors will be given the final opportunity to leave the island(s) within 24 hours of expected impact of Hurricane Irma, pending flight and airport operations.
All visitors are asked to make preparations with their airlines and check officials at their hotels for further information.
All airports throughout the destination remain open today. Immigration services will remain in place at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS) to ensure that flights are allowed to travel to and from the islands until Wednesday, September 6th at 6:00 p.m. when all airports throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands are expected to close.
Cruise ships are currently in port at the Grand Turk Cruise Center but will depart later today as officials have redirected all cruise lines away from Irma and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The last scheduled ferry service between the islands will depart North Caicos at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 6th.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board is maintaining contact with all of its stakeholders, offices, representatives and visitors throughout the archipelago as Hurricane Irma approaches.
The DDME has requested all essentials services to remain in place throughout the storm. In the event of an emergency, visitors are asked to follow management protocol at their respective resort or call 911.
For further updates on potential storm threats to the Turks and Caicos Islands and for safety tips, kindly visit the website of the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) at: gov.tc/ddme You may also follow DDME via Twitter @DDME.TC or Facebook: facebook.com/TCI.DDME Travel professionals and consumers are also advised to access the following: The National Hurricane Center at nhc.noaa.gov and the Weather Channel at weather.com .