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St Helena Online

The St Helena report and the gap in media

Thirty thousand tourists? Don’t count on it, says Bernice

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The councillor in charge of tourism on St Helena has voiced doubts about whether the island’s hopes for the industry will be realised.

Bernice Olsson also admitted that she did not vote in favour of the airport that is being relied on to give the island a meaningful economy. But she said she now realised that St Helena could not go on as it had.

In an interview with SAMS radio, she said: “I got to be careful here what I say because I’m the chairperson of tourism.

“Tourism will come, but I don’t think it will come in the numbers we are predicting.”

She cited comments made by cruise passengers who toured the island after waiting a day to be allowed ashore by the captain of the MSC Sinfonia.

“All the tourists that I spoke to said, ‘Beautiful island but we will never come back. You are just pulling this beautiful island apart” – an apparent reference to the airport construction and proposed tourism developments.

Bernice said: “I know we need new money into this island, but I didn’t even vote for the airport because I felt that we could just carry on like we are doing now, more or less, but it’s not working.

“But I don’t want to see [a large] amount of tourists coming into the island.

“I think I heard a quote of 30,000 a year. I think I could cope with that.”

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