The Falkland Islands anticipate major cruise visitor growth in the coming season, which would make it the destination’s most successful year to date. Almost 68,000 passengers are expected to visit from October 2008 to April 2009, according to statistics from the islands’ Tourist Board (FITB).

The latest figures indicate passenger numbers have grown by an average of 15 per cent per annum for eight consecutive seasons, compared with global growth of 8 per cent per annum. The capacity for next season has increased and developments in infrastructure for the new season include a new shelter at the Jetty Visitors Centre in capital Port Stanley, making it more comfortable for visitors while they are waiting for tours and tenders.

The season this year starts on October 20 with a visit from the NG Endeavour and ends on April 7, 2009. Vessels calling at the Falklands include Star Princess, Norwegian Sun and Minerva. Visitors are attracted by a wide variety of shore excursions to experience the unique wildlife and history, including Bluff Cove Lagoon, with its thousands of penguins, sea lions and dolphins; Volunteer Point, with many more bird species, plus the ever-popular penguins; and historical tours to battle sites from the 1982 conflict, including Mount Tumbledown and Wireless Ridge.