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Cold Water Tourism: The Falkland Islands Stephen A. Royle School of Geography Queen’s University Belfast.

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Presentation on theme: "Cold Water Tourism: The Falkland Islands Stephen A. Royle School of Geography Queen’s University Belfast."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cold Water Tourism: The Falkland Islands Stephen A. Royle School of Geography Queen’s University Belfast

2 Falkland Islands geography >700 islands; two substantial— East and West Falkland 12,173 sq km; density 0.2 people p. sq km Population (2001) 2491; 1989 in the town, Stanley Whitegrass, low shrubs, no trees; tussac grass at coast and islets Most land used for rough grazing for sheep 52˚S; cool temperatures; constant wind, usually westerlies West Falkland Tussac grass

3 Falkland Islands history First sighting (1592) & first landing (1690) by British First settlement (1764) by French; claim inherited by Argentina through sale to Spain British, who had settlement from 1765, took islands in 1833 after lawless period in which Britons were murdered Conflict: Argentina invaded 1982; expelled by British Overseas Territory; internal self-rule; British pay for defense Memorials: 1690 1982

4 Falkland Islands economy Ship servicing, then sheep farming from 19th century After Conflict, land reform led to rural-urban migration >50% income now from fish (mainly squid) licensing Much investment 1990s in Stanley and ‘Camp’ Over-dependence on fickle wool prices and squid migration— need for diversification, including into tourism Community School in Stanley New roads in Camp

5 Falkland Islands tourism sectors Cruises (34,000 passengers 2003-04) Luxury >1,000 passengers Soft adventure Expedition ships <200 passengers Land-based (few hundred p.a), arrive by plane Military market (1500 service personnel on R&R)

6 Falkland Islands luxury cruises Mainly elderly Americans May not specifically choose a Latin American cruise to come to the Falkland Islands Often ill-prepared and nervous; some do not go beyond the jetty; most seek just the iconic penguin ‘Does the sea go all the way round the islands?’ ‘How do you cut the grass on the minefields?’ Stanley jetty—there is more to see

7 The Falklands for the ‘inquisitive’ Quaint British Landscape: stone runs Military history: 1982 ‘Unspoilt’ ‘Friendly’ ‘Hospitable’ ‘Authentic’ Rural traditions

8 The Falklands: cold water tourism Lovely beaches, but you swim only for a dare People come for the wildlife, especially penguins Also black-browed albatross, caracaras, flightless steamer duck, upland geese, sea lions, elephant seals Nature red in beak and talon Off-road driving ‘Cold water tourism is managing without a hairdryer’ This beach is mined anyway Gentoos

9 Falklands tourism: choke points Only weekly flights from Chile Alternative RAF flights not set up for the tourist market Argentina restricts use of its air space for Falklands flights Now no passenger exchanges on the Falklands, which constrains cruise ship schedules High cost of getting there Limited accommodation in both Stanley and Camp—natural limit to land based tourists of c. 500 p.a. Upland Goose Upland Geese Stanley’s premier hotel: 16 rooms

10 Cold water tourism: management Gypsy Cove, the only wildlife site accessible by road from Stanley, was damaged by trampling, ‘ruined’ says Falklands Conservation. Now better managed with fences, footpaths etc but few penguins there. Other sites naturally protected by restricted access, all being off-road with slow & uncomfortable journeys Off-road in West Falkland Gypsy Cove, now protected

11 Role of Tour Guide in relation to Conservation Guardwildlife, habitats and historic sites Understandrelated legislation and reasons for conservation Informclients about natural history and sites Dissuadedisturbance, damage, collection and handling Encourageparticipation in biological recording From Falklands Conservation presentation to Falkland Islands Tourist Board Tour Guide course

12 Falklands tourism businesses 1. Owner of Murrell Farm and Kidney Cove Safari Tours 2. Owner of Long Island Farm demonstrates horse gear 3. Owners of Guesthouse Port Howard at the airstrip Some small farms (<8,000 ha) make half their income from tourism; it provides total income for some businesses; they are aware of need for sustainability 1 2 3

13 Falklands tourism issues Leakage: the penguin was made in China Continued political uncertainty regarding Argentina Access problems and limited infrastructure constrain growth; tourism can only ‘tick over’ until better air access Full employment and some do not value tourism, despite the medium and long term importance of the industry Continued need for vigilance regarding management of iconic wildlife in this coldwater destination—sustainability

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