New airport set to boost tourism at remote British island of St Helena


New airport set to boost tourism at remote British island of St HelenaPA

A brand new airport is being built at the remote British overseas island of St Helena - in the hope it will boost tourism.

The tropical volcanic island, located in the South Atlantic Ocean 1,500 miles north west of Cape Town, is one of the most isolated islands in the world and, in a bygone era, was used as a place of exile, most notably for Napolean.

The new £200 million airport will be built by South African company Basil Read, and hopes to boost annual visitors from 900 to 30,000.

Until now, the island has only been accessible by sea, with the RMS St Helena calling into port once a month, limiting the tourism trade.

The new airport, which is set to open in 2015 on the 200th anniversary of Napolean's exile, will be funded by the UK government, and it is hoped it will reduce the island's dependency on British aid, which reached £26 million last year, according to the Press Association.

French emperor Napolean arrived on the island after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.

He had surrendered to the British and had hoped to live in southern England, but the British had other ideas and sent him, along with a 'court' of a handful of people, to St Helena, with the island being constantly patrolled to ensure there was no chance of escape.

He died on the island in 1821, with his body eventually being reburied in Paris.

Jamie Roberts, Director of St Helena National Trust told Wanderlust magazine: 'St Helena is a small traditional community. Any opening up of the island to the outside world needs to be managed carefully to ensure that we safeguard what's precious about St Helena – including that priceless sense of 'getting away from it all'.

'By pursuing high quality, low volume tourism the island can ensure that it reaps the benefits of increased visitors without damaging its special character.'

Visitors to the island will need to fly to South Africa, before transferring to St Helena.

Visit to discover everything the island offers.

Alternative winter getaways

Alternative winter getaways

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