IN and around the Falklands for the last few weeks has been tourism consultant, Kevin Millington, of Acorn Tourism, who have been engaged by the Falkland Islands Tourist Board to measure the economic impact of what has been described as our fastest growing industry.
Mr Millington, who has been engaged in similar studies in a variety of other countries, said that he would be using a new approach to the measurement of tourism's economic contribution, known as 'tourism satellite accounts.' This model, the consultant explained, looks at measuring tourism in exactly the same way as economists measure the impact of other industries such as mining, agriculture or manufacture. The aim is to measure domestic as well as inbound tourism and the definition of the latter, which would be strictly adhered to, is that provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO): "An international tourist is someone who travels to another country outside the one where his usual residence is for no more than a year, for any purpose." Mr Millington said he had had a number of very useful meetings with people in the industry, which had given him a good picture of what has been happening and what changes need to be made. If there had been unforeseen problems, they related principally to the small scale of the Falklands tourism infrastructure, which created particular concerns about confidentiality: "While people had been very positive about the need for more statistics, so that the government could understand how important tourism is, there had certainly been a reluctance in some parts to divulge their statistics," he said. The results of Acorn's efforts should become available in about a year's time after various surveys have been put in place during the next tourist season, but Mr Millington stressed that this was an on-going procedure, which would help the Tourist Board to know whether the targets written into its strategy were being met. According to Jake Downing, General Manager of the Tourist Board, the cost of Acorn's consultancy together with flights and accommodation was in the region of £13,000, with the costs of further surveys being additional. The reason for bringing in a company such as Acorn, said the Tourism Manager, was that the FITB wished to get up to the standard required for United Nations World Tourism accreditation. Penguin News