Travel and Tourism - The Falkland Islands - November 2011
As a tourism destination, the Falkland Islands almost defies any logic. It is around 8,000 miles from the UK, its main source market for tourists. It is therefore expensive and time-consuming to reach, and it would appear to have a very niche appeal, offering excellent opportunities for birdwatchers and a fascinating insight into the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina, but little else. However, for the British market, these islands are one of the last outposts of the British Empire, and visitors are treated to a fascinating insight into Falklands life. Interaction with local residents is an integral part of any trip, and the tiny population makes this a rare destination for those seeking to ‘get away from it all’ and looking for a holiday that is genuinely an adventure. There are few destinations that can be reached by joining an RAF flight from a military base in the UK.
With a population of around 3,000, it attracts just over 6,000 tourists a year, of which only 1,250 are travelling for leisure (the rest are visiting friends and relatives – VFR, or are on business). However, considerable resources have been invested in tourism in recent years. The appointment of Jake Downing as the general manager of the Falkland Islands Tourist Board in 2008, and subsequently his successor, Paul Trowell in 2010, has focused the direction of tourism development in the islands, and has led to the development of a Tourism Strategy for the period 2011-16.
The recent discovery of oil is also having a major impact on the tourism scene in the islands. The increase in oil workers has led to competition between these visitors and leisure tourists for flights and accommodation. As viable oil wells are discovered, there will be an increase in the volume of this type of business traveller, and from 2016 there is almost certain to be more movement of visitors to and from the islands.
This report looks at the following aspects of the travel and tourism market in the The Falkland Islands:
- Tourist arrivals - overnights and expenditure
- Purpose of visit - business, leisure or VFR
- Accommodation supply - operating performance
- Tourism policy - management
- Transport - access and infrastructure
- Tourism funding - promotion and future development
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