The 2019/20 tourist season is likely to be remembered as, “the one that fell off the cliff in March,” summed up Falkland Islands Tourist Board Executive Director Steph Middleton this week. But despite the impact of the pandemic it wasn’t all bad up until then confirmed, Mrs. Middleton and other industry members.
Some 41 ships are expected to visit the Falkland Islands this coming cruise season which begins on Saturday with expedition vessel “Ushuaia”. Total calls in Stanley are estimated in 108 while some 170 in the Camp, but much will depend on the weather.
Falkland Islands tourism ambassadors Steph Middleton and Carli Sudder are returning from the United States after attending this year’s International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) conference in Newport, Rhode Island. Steph Middleton is Executive Director of the Falkland Islands Tourist Board, while Carl Sudder is Tourism Coordinator at Sulivan Shipping and Chair of the Falklands Travel Association.
Approximately 63,000 cruise ship passengers arrivals are expected in the Falkland Islands this season which is slightly up on the previous season when just over 56,000 passengers were received from 105 ship visits. Staff at Sulivan Shipping are looking forward to the start of the 2016-2017 tourism season, with the arrival of the first cruise ship passengers on next Saturday’s flight, to board the M/V Sea Spirit.
Falkland Islander Debbie Summers was this week voted in as Chair of Cruise New Zealand, the leading voice for the country’s cruise sector. Currently Executive Director of ID New Zealand Destination Management, Debbie left the Falklands nine years ago having progressed the Islands’ cruise ship industry as Tourism Manager for Sulivan Shipping Ltd.
The Falkland Islands Government confirmed on Friday that travel arrangements are now in place for the crew and passengers who were evacuated from the stranded cruise Le Boreal on Wednesday 18th November, to return home. Two flights have been coordinated, one departing Saturday and the following on Sunday.
Passengers and crew forced to abandon a cruise ship due to a fire in the engine room causing loss of power, were all safe and without injury in Stanley yesterday morning. This followed a complex rescue and care mission comprising British Forces from Mount Pleasant, Government emergency services, the ship’s agents Sulivan Shipping and with support from local farmers.
With support from a Royal Navy patrol, the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue helicopters and Falkland Islands emergency services, hundreds of passengers have been rescued from the French flagged mega yacht Le Boréal after it issued a distress call on Wednesday early morning to the north of the Falkland Islands.
The return of the Norwegian Cruise Line to South America this season with nine planned calls to the Falkland Islands “is a massive boost to our cruise ship industry,” Sulivan Shipping Tourism Coordinator Samantha Marsh told Penguin News this week.
Cruise vessel operating costs in South America are becoming unbearable according to company representatives speaking at the South America Seatrade Conference.