Falkland Islands’ tourism industry keeps growing despite a drop in cruise visitors
The Falkland Islands International Tourism Statistics Report released to the public this week records that 2012 was the second highest year on record in terms of overnight visitors travelling for leisure. There were 7,791 overnight tourists (as opposed to day trip cruise tourists) arrivals in the Falkland Islands in 2012, of which 1,937 could be classed as leisure visitors. Overall, tourist arrivals have grown at an average annual rate of 7% per annum over the period 2000-2012.
According to the report details published by Penguin News, the UK is the most significant market for tourist arrivals with 4,234 visitors in 2012. The second largest market in 2012 was Norway, with 482 visitors (mostly oil workers). Argentina generated the third highest number of arrivals (usually the second largest generating market) with 374 visitors in 2012.
In 2012, over 54% of all arrivals were residents of the United Kingdom however this represents a considerable fall in market share compared to over 68% in 2000.
Over the period 2000-2012, British visitors increased by an average of 5.0% per annum, however they have lost market share due to higher growth rates from other countries. Whilst arrivals from the USA have barely changed over the same period, there has been a significant growth in arrivals from Canada, France and Argentina in the last five years.
The average length of stay of all tourists in 2012 was 15.9 nights.
The general satisfaction of Leisure tourists with the Falklands was also apparent with the value for money indicator, with almost 77% stating that they thought it was “good value” in 2012, compared to around 61% in 2011.
In terms of what those visitors felt could be improved, roads, information and communications were commonly mentioned. However, a large number of leisure tourists requested to “leave alone” or do “nothing” to the Islands.
The average spend per tourist per night in the Falklands in 2012 was £62.78, up £14.58 (or 30.3%) on 2011. Just over half of daily spend was on accommodation (£31.61). Total tourism expenditure in the Falkland Islands in 2012 is estimated at almost £7.8 million, up 50.1% on that recorded in 2011.
Regarding cruise tourism this season there was a total of 29,553 cruise passenger visits. Cancellations accounted for a loss of around 23,053 passengers over the season. Overall, cruise passenger arrivals have grown at an average annual rate of 12.6% over the period 1995/06 to 2012/13, despite a decline in visits over the last four seasons.
Most visitors describe their trip to the Falklands as “excellent” or “good.” In the 2012/2013 season there was a small increase in the number of visitors describing it as “fair.”
The largest age group within the cruise arrivals segment is the 45-64 year olds, which represented over 66% of all visitors in the 2012/13 season.
There has been a sharp decline in those who declare they “definitely” want to visit the Falkland Islands again. There was a significant increase in visitors stating “definitely not”, mainly at the expense of those previously stating it as being “unlikely”.
However despite this there has been an increase in the proportion that have a desire to visit as a land-based tourist. Almost a quarter (24.2%) of cruise visitors stated that the Falklands were “essential” when choosing their itinerary and a further 22.6% stated that it was “very important”.
Average spend per cruise passenger increased by £6.52 (12.8%) in 2012/13 to £57.27. Expenditure on food and drink and shopping decreased, however spend on tours was up on that measured in the 2011/12 season.
Despite a 15.9% decline in the number of cruise passenger arrivals in the 2012/13 season, the fall in total expenditure was only 5.1%. Overall, during the 2012/13 season, cruise passengers spent an estimated £1.7 million. (PN).-