MEMBERS of the Falkland Islands Tourist Board (FITB) have pushed government for clarity on potential scenarios for the tourist industry in the upcoming 2021/22 season.

Pic – a beautiful location likely to be popular with tourists since the recent removal of mines – Yorke Bay

The topic arose following discussion of international marketing of the Falkland Islands for the upcoming season. It was noted that The Tourist Board was unable to commit to a full span of international marketing without knowing what the upcoming season might look like, and that potential customers with an interest in coming to the islands usually liked to book in advance, and as such guidance was needed soon if there was to be a functional tourist season.

Following up on discussion from the FITB meeting, MLA Mark Pollard, portfolio holder for trade and industry, spoke to Penguin News with regard to the possibility for creating a “roadmap” for potential scenarios surrounding an upcoming tourist season: “We have constantly been appraising the situation in terms of getting the tourism industry up and running in some way.

“Public health is our number one priority. When we feel it is safe to do so then we will look to open our border(s).”
MLA Pollard said. “In the mean time we have created the TRIP scheme as well as other financial schemes to help keep businesses afloat for when we do get up and running again.”

Regarding a statement from Director of Policy & Economic Development, Andrew Gaule, that there was hope for more information by the end of April, MLA Pollard said: “Decisions about potential scenarios and roadmaps will not be made by the end of April although we hope to be able to provide greater certainty in relation to our planning process around that time.”

Asked by Penguin News whether there was an estimated “point of no return” by which a decision must be made to have an operating tourist season, MLA Pollard said: “The Government appreciates the need for planning certainty on the part of the tourism industry and to that end will seek to communicate any decisions it makes in as timely a manner as possible.”

He continued: “We completely understand the nervousness the tourism industry is feeling and we are of course looking at ways for tourism businesses to operate and will continue to do so. I hope they will agree that we haven’t let them down yet and will continue to try our best not to in the future. I can promise that the borders will not be forever closed to tourism and we will do all we can when we are content it’s safe enough to do so.”