Cruise Tourism on the Rise in the Falkland Islands
When it comes to the world’s most popular cruise destinations, regions such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean would seem the obvious winners – for now anyway. More passengers are opting for cruises in areas such as Asia and river cruises are also seeing a significant rise in popularity. Whilst it would be impossible to gauge which location is the most popular of all when it comes to cruising, one that is perhaps doing surprisingly well is Port Stanley, of the Falkland Islands.
Over the last few years, the number of cruise passengers visiting the islands has more than doubled – from 29,000 in 2012-13 to 60,000 expected in the 2015-16 season. A total of 43,437 cruise passengers arrived on the islands last season. The Falkland Islands season generally runs from October to March every year, with Port Stanley proving to be one of the most popular destinations.
Many renowned cruise lines such as Holland America Line, Seabourn and Silversea operate itineraries that allow passengers to explore the Falkland Islands. Additionally, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun will make a total of nine calls to Port Stanley this season, bringing over 17,000 additional visitors. P&O Cruises’ Arcadia will also visit the island as part of the ship’s South America and Japan world cruise itinerary. These are amazing statistics, considering the islands have a total population of just 3,000 permanent residents.
This boost in passengers could be attributed to a new Falklands Tourism Board, which is due to open in London later this year. It follows a vote within the Falklands over whether or not to remain part of Great Britain, of which an overwhelming 98% voted in favour. The tourism board is also looking to attract more visitors from other areas, such as the US.
Tourists arriving in the Falklands will be greeted with a wide range of wildlife, particularly bird species. Visitors are likely to be able to observe albatross, petrels, the Falklands flightless steamer duck, geese and even the rare striated caracara, which can only be sighted on this archipelago and around Cape Horn. Other wildlife found on the islands includes multiple species of penguins and seals, whilst it is also possible to see dolphins off the coast.
Visitors may also wish to pay their respects at the Falklands war memorials, which mark the lives lost in the 1982 war with Argentina. With 2015 also marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War 1, visitors may be interested in tours of the battlefields.
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