S.Georgia : South Georgia: Significant Increase in Tourism Possible For The 2012/13 Season
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 21.09.2013 (Article Archived on 19.10.2013)
Schedules for the coming tourist season show a significant increase in the number of ships planning to visit South Georgia, and a consequent expected increase in tourist numbers. © South Georgia Newsletter
Increase in Tourism Possible For The 2012/13 Season
© South Georgia Newsletter
Schedules for the coming tourist season show a significant increase in
the number of ships planning to visit South Georgia, and a consequent expected
increase in tourist numbers. Cruise ship visits to the Island reduced during
the last four years following a downturn in the global economy, and other
factors. Tourism to South Georgia reached its height in the 2008/9 season, when
71 cruise ships visited bringing around 8000 passengers; after which it dropped
back to 62 cruise ship visits and around 7000 passengers in 2009/10. The last
two seasons have seen nearer 50 cruise ship visits and 5,500 passengers.
Looking at the early schedules for the coming 2013/14 summer season, there will
be around 58 cruise ship visits to South Georgia, made by 23 different vessels;
an 11% increase in ship visits. With normal occupancy levels, the number of
cruise ship passengers could be as high as 7000; a 20% increase over last
Analysis of last year’s tourist data shows there were 5,800 cruise ship
passengers, and 610 cruise ship staff. Not many of the crew from these vessels
get ashore. A further 200 arrived on yachts. Overall a total of around 10,500
visitors visited South Georgia when you include those arriving on research,
military, and other vessels. Cruise ship passengers came from 57 different
countries. The majority of passengers were from English speaking countries
(52%); 25% of all passengers came from the USA. Of the rest, Germans made up
20%, UK 11%, and Australia 10%. Following the global tourism trend, the
percentage of Chinese visitors is growing (3%) - this increase is expected to
continue, with the possibility of an all Chinese charter of one of the larger
vessels in the coming season.
Most vessels arrived in South Georgia from the Falkland Islands on a route that
takes them from South America via the Falklands to South Georgia, the Antarctic
Peninsula and back to South America. When around South Georgia, most vessels
landed passengers twice in a day. The most frequently visited locations were:
Grytviken/KEP (all ships have to visit Grytviken to clear customs); Salisbury
Plain; Stromness; Gold Harbour; and St Andrews Bay.
More yachts visited the Island compared to the previous season; a total of 16
visits by 11 different boats.
Tourists from most visiting cruise
ships will visit wildlife hotspots like the king penguin colony
at Fortuna Bay.