Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Thu March 05 2015

Turks and Caicos Islands To Switch Time Zones

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | March 05, 2015

Turks and Caicos Islands To Switch Time Zones

PHOTO: Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos. (Photo by Brian Major)

For weary travelers looking to escape the winter chill and resulting stress in the Caribbean, summery sunshine is arguably the top attraction. 

So when a premier vacation destination springs forward an hour, no one's complaining. 

In an effort to propel an economy dependent on tourism, The Turks and Caicos Islands is doing just that, switching to Atlantic Standard Time so that its winter season visitors can enjoy an additional hour of sunlight before nightfall.

The change will take place this weekend amid Daylight Saving Time in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

Turks and Caicos has long followed Eastern Standard Time, but as a result sunsets like the one below (via Turks & Caicos Magazine) occur around 5 p.m. during the winter months, which is also the British Territory's peak tourism season.

Earlier this week, Employment Minister Ricardo Donhue Gardiner said that switching to the new time zone would benefit the islands' many resorts, bars and restaurants, while also "allowing our residents to enjoy a little more sunshine."

The last part is critical, especially considering that endless sunshine and warmth is what makes Turks and Caicos so appealing in the winter. 

Airlines flying to and from Turks and Caicos as well as shipping companies were notified of the impending change well in advance, according to the AP. 

This week's announcement comes less than two months after the Mexican state of Quintana Roo announced that it would change time zones to provide tourists with more sunshine. The change went into effect on Feb. 1 and has resulted in additional daylight in places like Cancun, the Mayan Riviera and Tulum.

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