- Economy of the Falkland Islands
The economy of the
Falkland Islands, previously heavily over-dependent on sheep farming (and historically whaling), has become more diversified in the last decades and now also has income from tourism and commercial fishingas well as a service base for the fishing industry.
During the 19th century, the supply and maintenance depot for ships at Stanley developed into a port serving ships rounding
Cape Horn, and trade in cow hides from the wild descendants of cattle introduced by French settlers in the late 18th century. Sheep farming was introduced, taking over from the cattle trade in the 1870s and becoming self-supporting by 1885. The islands also provided a base for whalingand sealing, with factories being built on East Falkland and South Georgia, but these industries ended, leaving the wool trade as the mainstay of the islands' economy.
By the 1980s, the economic viability of the islands was in doubt, but in the aftermath of the
Falklands Warthere was a new commitment from the United Kingdomgovernment and in mid-1984 the Falkland Islands Development Corporation was formed. In its annual report at the end of that year, it set out to increase employment opportunities by encouraging diversification of, to increase population levels through selective immigration, to aim for long-term self-sufficiency and to improve community facilities. To achieve this, it identified as areas to tackle agricultural improvements, tourism, self-sufficiency in energy, development of the industrial and service sector, fisheries, and land subdivision.
By April 2002,
the Guardianreported, the Falklands' economy was booming, with income from tourism and the sale of squidfishing licences as well as from indigenous fishing companies with locally registered boats. Fishing boats visit the islands from Spain, Korea, Taiwanand Japan, and obtain supplies and services from the islands. An agreement with Argentina set the terms for exploitation of offshore resources, though hopes of oil production have yet to materialise. An islander told the BBCthat "we were the luckiest people that was ever mixed up in a war."
Tourist interest was stirred by the publicity given to the islands, and as well as introducing holiday facilities and guided tours, the islands became a regular port of call for the growing market of
cruise ships, giving visitors a glimpse of what the islanders had previously thought of as their humdrum existence, as well as tours to see the scenery and wildlife, particularly penguins, seabirds, seals and sealions, and to visit battlefields. However, diplomatic disputes with Argentinacaused a slight disruption in 2004, when charter flights from Chileto serve cruise ships were refused permission to fly over Argentina to reach the islands. Large numbers of 19th century shipwrecks around the islands are an attraction for recreational divers, and troutfishing, golf, horse riding and sailing are also on offer.
Overview from CIA Factbook
The economy was formerly based on
agriculture, mainly sheep farming, but today fishingcontributes the bulk of economic activity. In 1987the government began selling fishing licenses to foreign travelers operating within the Falklands exclusive fishing zone. These license fees total more than $40 million per year, which goes to support the island's health, education, and welfare system. Squidaccounts for 75% of the fish taken. Dairy farmingsupports domestic consumption; crops furnish winter fodder. Exports feature shipments of high-grade wool to the UK and the sale of postage stamps and coins. The islands are now self-financing except for defence. The British Geological Survey announced a 200-mile (370 km) oil exploration zone around the islands in 1993, and early seismic surveys suggest substantial reserves capable of producing 500,000 barrels per day; to date no exploitable site has been identified. An agreement between Argentinaand the UK in 1995seeks to defuse licensing and sovereignty conflicts that would dampen foreign interest in exploiting potential oil reserves. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is increasing rapidly, with about 30,000 visitors in 2001. Another large source of income is interest paid on money the government has in the bank. The British military presence also provides a sizeable economic boost.
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Industries:fish and wool processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:NA%
Electricity - production:22.23 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
Electricity - consumption:20.68 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products:fodder and vegetable crops; sheep, dairy products
Debt - external:$NA
Economic aid - recipient:$0 (1997 est.)
Exchange rates:Falkland pounds per US dollar - 0.54 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002), 0.6947 (2001) note: the Falkland pound is at par with the British
Falkland Islands Holdings
* [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fk.html CIA - The World Factbook -Falkland Islands (Malvinas)] (last updated 10 January, 2006)
* [http://www.falklands.info/history/histarticle6.html Falkland Islands Development Corporation - Annual Report 1984]
* [http://www.falklands.info/background/visitorsguide.html A Visitor's View of the Falkland Islands]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/falklands/story/0,,681229,00.html Guardian Unlimited - Special Reports - Share the Falklands]
* [http://www.falklands.info/background/lifearticle31.html Four Seasons and more than 3,000 Tourists in One Day]
* [http://www.falklands.info/background/lifearticle22.html "Falklands Experience" tours]
* [http://www.falklands.info/factfile/tourism1.html Falklandsinfo: Welcome to our Spectacular Islands!]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/argentina/story/0,,1147979,00.html Britain sends minister to resolve Falklands air row with Argentina]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/fish/story/0,,1185207,00.html Guardian Unlimited - Special Reports - The Falklands' rise to riches]
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