As from 2016 the British Overseas Territory of St Helena in the mid Atlantic will have regular flight connections when the island’s first airport opens which opens a magnificent opportunity for promoting tourism and for Saints living overseas to visit their homeland.
Matt Joshua of ‘The Journey Tourism’ has been commissioned by Enterprise St Helena to assess visitor potential for the island.
“An important part of this is assessing the potential level of travel by Saints living on the island and living overseas.”
Matt hopes that St Helenians living in the Falklands will take the time to complete a survey online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SaintsOverseas in order to assess that travel.
According to the Falklands 2012 census almost 420 St Helenians are living in the Islands, two thirds of them at the Mount Pleasant complex.
As one of the leading communities in the Falklands, Saint Helenians celebrated their day last week with a reception held at Government House in Stanley.
Acting Governor Sandra Tyler- Haywood welcomed everyone to the event which celebrated the anniversary of the discovery of their island home more than 500 years ago.
Mrs Tyler-Haywood said it was fair to say that while the Falklands and St Helena enjoyed very different climates, the islands do have much in common.
The reception was, she said, an opportunity to celebrate the common bonds that the Falklands and St Helena have, not just as UK Overseas Territories but also as island people.
The St Helena airport is under construction since early 2012 and is scheduled to open in February 2016, by which time the RMS Saint Helena, the only regular ship to call at St Helena, will be retired.
A total amount of £201.5 million has been funded by the British government for design and construction of the airport which will be carried out by South African engineering group Basil Read (Pty) Ltd. Additional funds of up to £10 million in shared risk contingency, and £35.1 million for ten years of operation by South-African airport operator Lanseria Airport have also been granted by the UK Government.
The airport will be the largest single investment ever made in the island.
Saint Helena has a known history of over 500 years since its recorded discovery by the Portuguese in 1502.
Claiming to be Britain’s second oldest colony, it is one of the most isolated islands in the world and was for several centuries of vital strategic importance to ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. For several centuries, the British used the island as a place of exile, most notably for Napoleon Bonaparte.
Most historical accounts state the island was discovered on May 21, 1502 by the Galician navigator João da Nova sailing at the service of the Portuguese Crown, on his voyage home from India, and that he named it Santa Helena after Helena of Constantinople. (PN/MP)