With the opening of its new airport in May 2016, St Helena is to market itself as a sort after tourist destination. Until air access becomes a reality, the only way to get to St Helena is to travel there by sea on board the RMS St Helena ship, a visiting cruise ship or a passing yacht. St Helena Tourism has invested heavily into marketing St Helena on the world tourist market and slowly shaping the Island to become a go to destination. It is believed that the Island will become a big tourist attraction when regular flights start arriving.
The tourist ship season is normally from November to February but only a limited amount of cruise ships frequent the island due to the unpredictable sea condition of the South Atlantic. The lack of safe landing or a dockside means the ship can only disembark and embark its passengers when the sea is calm. Due to favourable sea condition, for this cruise ship season many tourist was fortunate to visit St Helena and would have contributed to the island’s economic.
St Helena has a few small Hotels, Guesthouses, Bed and Breakfasts, and self-catering accommodation, not near enough to cater for the anticipated in flux of tourist. However, the St Helena Government has plans to build a new hotel in Jamestown. Building a hotel in Jamestown is an ambitious project for any contractor, who will no doubt face challenging logistical problem due to the limited space in a small busy town. Now there is no clear indication when the construction will start.
It is a well-known fact that the limited amount of accommodation will influence the number visitors coming to the island. All that said there are many things to do on St Helena; St Helena is rich in history and has plans to market its heritage and its natural environment as a selling point for the tourism. Some flora, birds and insects are unique to the island.
For the avid tourist there are many places to visit and things to do, including diving, fishing post box walks or simply strolling down the country lanes or perhaps just admiring the flora. The island offers spectacular scenic views. Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled in St Helena in the 1815, one of top attractions for any visitor is a visit to Napoleon house.
Now the Island offers very little places to dine out but has several small fast food outlets and bristo type venues. The small hotels do offer three course meals if you book in advance most local people enjoys their own home cooking.
St Helena is famous for its fresh local fish meats and vegetables, which the locals cooked into a local cuisine; the most famous is the local fish cake. The local shops sell a limited amount of fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Tourist office can arrange local tours and other excursions on arrival; normally this is through the tourist office or with the providers themselves. When the airport becomes operational, a rise in the number of visitors coming to the island is expected and visitors should therefore book early.