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Dolphinarium would hurt Turks & Caicos economy, in ex-environment chief's view

Dolphinarium would hurt Turks & Caicos economy, in ex-environment chief's view
The proposed Dolphin Cove on Grand Turk would hurt the economy and cost more jobs than it generates, the Turks and Caicos Islands' former director of environment and maritime affairs told a local newspaper.

Kathleen Wood, who resigned Friday, said that while a dolphinarium would generate tax revenue and jobs, she is concerned about negatives that outweigh the benefits. These include the fact that Dolphin Cove is a Jamaican company so most profits would leave the Turks and Caicos Islands, she told Turks and Caicos Weekly News.

Wood added that if cruise passengers buy an excursion to Dolphin Cove, that would take business from local tour providers, and this could ultimately mean the local companies have to cut staff.

According to Turks and Caicos Weekly News, Dolphin Cove has said it will create 20 jobs, half of those to be filled by locals, and the government's finance minister has stated the project will boost revenue from accommodations tax.

Other concerns Wood cited about a dolphinarium include potential harm to Turks and Caicos' image of environmental integrity and the developing global trend of opposition to containing marine animals for entertainment.

Dophin Cove touts itself as Jamaica's No. 1 attraction and has been nominated for the World Travel Awards' Caribbean's Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2014. It won that award in 2013, and was voted the Caribbean's Leading Adventure Excursion Operator in 2012 and 2011.