The net contribution of the tourism industry to the economy of the Falklands is now in excess of £1,500,000 per annum, according to a recent report by Councillor Mike Summers to the Legislative.
"In 2001/02 we received 1533 land-based tourists, whose contribution, that is revenue less boarding costs, is estimated at £715 per person per week", said Mr. Summers, adding that "FIGAS income from this group is estimated at just short of £103,000".
"FIGAS show that in addition to these, there are 1.198 Mount Pleasant and local tourist flights providing revenue of just short of £51,000. Given the loss-making operation of FIGAS, it would perhaps not be reasonable to include either of these figures as net income."
Further on Councillor Summers explained that, "Cruise ship visits during 2001/02 contributed just short of £218,000 in passenger tax plus just under £12,000 in embarkation tax. A further £41,600 was paid to Camp destinations".
"Restaurants, hotels and lodges are estimated to make a net contribution of £807,000 per annum. Retail outlets make a net estimated contribution from tourism of £342,000. Taxis, buses, tour guides and travel services contribute a further £278,000. Fuel and provisions for cruise vessels contribute around £125,000".
"This gives a total estimated contribution to the economy of £1,816,500", stressed Mr. Summers.
Costs and LAN subsidy However Councillor Summers also pointed out there are direct and indirect FIDC/FITB staff costs of about £87,500. The Falklands Tourist Board promotional costs for 2002/3 are £112,838 and the LAN Chile subsidy for this year has totalled just under £3,000.
Capital allocations for the industry for 2003 are projected to be £65,000, some of which may generate future income to FIDC. Some of the collection costs of passenger and embarkation costs cannot be individually identified and are therefore not separately quantified.
Councillor Summers said, "This gives total estimated public sector costs of £288,000. "The past and on-going support to some of the tourist lodges must also be seen as a sunk cost. Investment in several lodges has not been fully recovered, for example, Sea Lion and Darwin, or may not be realised in the future, for example, Pebble, Port Howard and Blue Beach.
"No lodge currently receives operating subsidy. However, these costs do have to be seen as start-up costs for the industry as a whole.
"There are believed to be 40 companies involved in the tourism industry in the Falklands, employing some 200 people, either full or part-time.
"There are a number of non-quantifiable benefits from the tourism industry.
"These include, critically, the raising of the profile of the Falklands, and the benefit that it brings in supporting our quest for self-determination, the support to very small businesses in Stanley and in Camp and support to external communications via LanChile."
Councillor Summers concluded that the net contribution in financial terms from the tourism industry is, by any calculation, now well in excess of £1.5 million per annum.