Without a comprehensive and well-established system of tourism statistics, it was not possible to develop tourism in the Falkland Islands in a structured and rational way. Decisions were not based on hard facts, and it was difficult to develop a realistic and implementable tourism strategy.
To resolve this issue, a system of tourism statistics was required. This not only needed to be designed, but also implemented and kept up-to-date. Over time, as data becomes more comprehensive, it is be possible to develop forecasting and economic impact models, including a tourism satellite account.
Initially three key surveys were designed and implemented to measure inbound and domestic tourism; these were an Air Tourist Exit Survey, Cruise Visitor Survey, and Domestic Tourism Survey. These were supplemented with an Accommodation Occupancy Survey to assess the match between supply and demand within the accommodation sector. An online tourism statistics database using Acorn’s T-Stats software was developed to store and disseminate this data.
Two years after the system of tourism statistics was established, Acorn commenced production of a regular quarterly forecasting report called Falklands Forecast, which provided forecasts over a 10-year period. This has now been replaced by Tourism Quarterly, which tracks the entire tourism sector including air and cruise arrivals, accommodation occupancy, domestic flights, ferry passengers, footfall, yacht visitors, and website and social media data.
Acorn also produces an annual Tourism Statistics Report to report on the sector over a calendar year and tourist season (October to March), and a bi-annual Tourism Satellite Account.
The Falkland Islands system of tourism statistics allows the sector to be carefully planned and developed, and provides a rich source of data for planning, policy-making, marketing, promoting and monitoring the sector. When the 2017-2023 Tourism Development Strategy was written, the rich database of statistics and intelligence ensured that the strategy was ambitious but realistic and implementable.
Being able to track the tourism sector in the Falklands, in detail, on a month-by-month basis ensures that every new policy, action and marketing decision can be measured and adjusted according to the results measured.