Tourism is an important source of revenue to the Falkland Islands.
While the Falkland Islands Development Corporation (FIDC) will continue its support for developing businesses in the tourism sector, the strategic development of the tourism industry in the Falklands and the marketing of the Islands’ tourism product is the prime responsibility of the Falkland Islands Tourist Board (FITB). FITB is constitutionally a ‘Company Limited by Guarantee’, similar to the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce.
Tourism is an industry which is now predominantly private sector owned and controlled, a fact recognised by the election of five of FITB’s eight directors directly by members. Central to the tourism strategy is sustainable development, preserving and protecting the Islands’ character, building on the Islands’ natural strengths – the abundant wildlife, flora, clean air, open skies, space and remote location – as well as their friendly people and virtually crime-free environment.
The clear light and range of subjects makes the Islands an appealing destination for photographers, while anglers will find challenging sea trout and Falklands ‘mullet’ fishing set in amongst the peaceful and majestic scenery.
The Islands’ main tourist lodges are located at Port Howard, Darwin, Pebble Island and Sea Lion Island. Self-catering accommodation can be found at a selection of holiday cottages on island farms, and several locations in East and West Falkland. In Stanley, there are two principal hotels (The Malvina House and Waterfront Hotel) as well as guest houses and bed & breakfast accommodation.
The number of visitors to the Islands has grown considerably in recent years, not least due to the increasing number of cruise ships touring the region. During the 2005/2006 season there were in the region of 45,000 day visitors from cruise ships, mainly from the USA, UK and Germany. Land based tourism continues to grow, with some exciting new business placed from the UK Ramblers Association.
There are over 30 European tour operators featuring tailor-made packages and escorted tours to the Falkland Islands, many travelling to the Islands by RAF Airbridge from the UK, while others choose the weekly commercial service from South America, which has seen a steady increase in traffic.
For more information, please see the Falkland Islands Tourist Board website, www.falklandislands.com