Travelers should not cancel their plans to visit Ushuaia or the Falkland Islands because of the current political conflict, according to Argentine government officials.
Political tensions between the UK and Argentina over oil drilling in the region had raised concerns about tourism and safety.
“No Reason to Cancel”
The Argentina Tourism Office in Miami has just provided a statement to the NY Destinations Examiner regarding the safety of traveling to Ushuaia and the Malvinas (Falkland Islands).
“The current tension is of a diplomatic nature… and is not affecting the way of life of anyone, neither in Ushuaia nor in any other Argentine city,” reads a statement from the Direccion General de Malvinas – Cancilleria Argentina.
“There is no reason to cancel any tour, because the tourist activity is going on as usual, including cruises between Ushuaia and the Malvinas Islands.”
Direccion General de Malvinas – Cancilleria Argentina, which is headed by Ambassador Sebastian Brugo MarcoIt, urges travelers to remember that the current conflict is a political dispute and not a military conflict.
“…The sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom is already 177 years old,” reads the statement.
“The hiring of an oil rig by the British to operate off shore to the north of Malvinas Islands has heightened DIPLOMATIC tensions, as protest and reply notes have been exchanged between both countries. There is no reason whatsoever for having any safety concerns.”
The Falkland Islands Tourist Board previously reassured travelers that safety was not an issue and claimed that tourism is thriving on the islands.
No delays to cruise ship itineraries
The Argentine city of Ushuaia is often the departure point for cruise visits to the Falkland Islands .
President Kircher announced on February 16 that ships traveling to the Falklands from Argentine ports would need a special permit issued by Argentine authorities.
However, this decree has not yet been enforced.
“… The procedures in detail are still being written down (who will have to submit to whom, data to be submitted, time for giving or not the authorization, etc.),” explains the statement from the Direccion General de Malvinas – Cancilleria Argentina.
“Meanwhile nothing has changed, including traveling between Ushuaia and Malvinas Islands. This procedure will apply to cruise and merchant ships as well, but it is believed that it will not cause delays to itineraries.”
Oil drilling reignites political conflict
Argentina claims ownership of these Atlantic Ocean islands, which it calls the Malvinas. However, the Falkland Islands are officially a British overseas territory.
Argentine forces seized the islands during a brief 1982 war but the land was quickly returned to British control.
Tensions heated up again last month when UK-based petroleum company, Desire Petroleum PLC, began drilling for oil in the region.
Background: Falkland Islands conflict sparked by oil
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The US is reluctant to take sides in the Falklands dispute. Hilary Clinton encouraged both parties to meet and peacefully resolve their differences during a visit with Argentina’s President Kirchner on March 1.
“We would like to see Argentina and the United Kingdom sit down and resolve the issues between them across the table in a peaceful, productive way,” Clinton explained at a press conference in Buenos Aires.
The British government and press soundly rejected Clinton’s proposal for a peaceful negotiation. They feel mediation is unnecessary and the Falkland Islands should remain a British territory.
Visiting the Falklands Islands
Over 30,000 tourists from North America visit the Falkland Islands each year, according to the Falkland Islands Tourist Board.
The Falklands are a popular stop on cruises to Antarctica. Cruise lines have kept the islands on their itineraries during this political dispute.
Members of the travel industry claim that tourism in the Falklands has not been hurt by the current tensions and emphasize that visitor safety is “not an issue.”
Recent article: Falkland Islands welcome tourists, claim safety ‘not an issue’
Cruise ships are arriving at the Falkland Islands as planned, despite a heated political battle between the UK and Argentina over oil drilling in the…
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New Yorkers can visit the Falkland Islands as part of a South America or Antarctica cruise.
Several cruise lines and expedition companies operate in the area. Visit the Falkland Islands Tourist Board website for more information.
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