Wednesday, March 28th 2001 - 21:00 UTC

Falklands Visitor Centre to Welcome Tourists.Shackleton Scholars' Blueprint for Heritage Tourism and

A splendid new Visitor Centre will in future welcome visitors to the Falkland Islands on Stanley Jetty. The first stage has been completed, with plans for future extension. It is an initiative of the Falkland Islands Development Corporation of which Tourism Department is a part.

The Centre fulfils a long-felt need, especially to greet the tens of thousands of tourists from cruise ships as soon as they set foot ashore and provide them with factual information of what to do and see so that their few hours ashore are spent to best advantage.

The Centre provides a hub for all tourism activities, informing visitors about the Falkland Islands in general and not just about the wildlife. Preparation of the Centre has benefited from the work and ideas of a Falklands- born university graduate from Northern Ireland, Emma Jane McAdam, whose research has been aided by the Shackleton Scholarship Fund.

She has outlined an imaginative programme for promoting the rich heritage of the Falkland Islands as a focus for tourism. What's emerged is a pragmatic plan for action which she herself has helped to implement in the Visitor Centre.

The Falklands Government has shown its confidence in her ideas by putting her in charge of the interior design, which has heritage, wildlife and conservation displays, photographs and maps of old shipping routes and new fishing boundaries, a free standing three-dimensional outline map of the Islands, and wall-mounted inter-active displays. The Centre, in which Islander participation is encouraged, has an educational as well as an exhibition role, and will later include an auditorium for lectures and a cinema.

Miss McAdam's master-plan identifies ten fascinating heritage strands and sites, and incorporates the brilliant idea of creating two "Heritage Trails", one on East Falklands re-tracing the journeys of the famous pioneering scientist, Charles Darwin, author of the "The Origin of Species" and "Voyage of the Beagle", who visited the Islands in 1833 and 1834; and the other on West Falkland, tracing the development of sheep farming called "From Sheep to Sweater". This trail would link Port Howard, with its already famous tourist lodge, with Fox Bay and Bold Cove, with accommodation, transport and catering included.

Re-Tracing Charles Darwin's Trail

The Darwin Trail, on horse-back and by land-rover, would re-trace the route Charles Darwin took with his assistant, two gauchos and six horses, to discover the geology, flo

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