With a refurbished Jetty Visitor Centre and forecasted rise in cruise visitors for the 2013/14 season, it's full steam ahead for the Falkland Islands.
According to latest statistics released by the Falkland Islands Tourist Board (FITB), cruise passenger arrivals on the Islands are expected to increase by 7% to over 36,000 in the 2013/14 season (which runs September to April). After a turbulent 2012/13 the trend is set to reverse for the coming year.
The Falkland Islands are ideally located as a port of call on a wider South America or Antarctica voyage, affording cruise visitors unrivalled access to the abundant wildlife which resides on the 770-plus islands that make up the remote archipelago. With a wide variety of shore excursions allowing passengers to get close to nature, the Falkland Islands is a dream destination for wildlife lovers keen to hop off, explore and ‘meet the locals'.
The revamped Jetty Visitor Centre is on course to be completed by the beginning of September and is set to improve the visitor experience with enhanced facilities. Located at the head of the Public Jetty, the Centre includes visitor information, a display of aspects of Falkland Islands life, and occasional exhibitions and local artwork, making the perfect pit stop for foot-weary visitors awaiting tenders back to their cruise ship.
"The cruise market is of immense global significance, proving one of the fastest growing in the travel industry with travellers demonstrating a real appetite for cruise holidays to intriguing destinations," says Tony Mason, Managing Director of the FITB. "With over 700 islands the Falklands offer an abundance of unexplored gems, private nature reserves and hidden coves largely inaccessible to land-based tourists, so coming by sea offers the ultimate taste of this wildlife paradise."
New cruise product includes the ‘magical winter wonderland' holiday just launched by Crystal Cruises (www.crystalcruises.co.uk 020 7399 7601). The December 21, 2013 Buenos Aires-Valparaiso voyage aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony sails through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, the Falkland Islands, Drake Passage, Cape Horn, and the Chilean Fjords. The 18-day cruise includes a stop at Port Stanley and the chance to visit working farms in the Falklands.
Other ships calling at the Falklands next season include Seabourn and Princess Cruises.