Impact of Tourism on Antarctica
Antarctica is the most Southerly continent located in the South Pole. 5th largest
of the world’s 7 continents not sighted until 1820. When people did find out
about Antarctica it was too expensive for people to go there. There are no hotels
in Antarctica yet but some people have called for quotas on the number of
tourists, so that the need for hotels never came about. Travel companies have
joined together to form the IAATO to promote responsible tourism.
Who or what is affected by the
Antarctica doesn’t have any resident’s just
short term visitors, so it cannot get
affected that much and the wildlife there
which is protected severely for example,
seal hunting is now strictly controlled and
kept to a low rate. No non-native species
are allowed and dog sleds are banned.
Antarctica relies on tourists because there
are no residents there. Even though the
tourists only go there for a short time
they affect the country a lot as the
scenery is fragile even though it is twice
the size of Australia. Tourists, when they
go there want to visit the most
picturesque parts of Antarctica and they
tend to do it in large groups on large cruise ships which has more of an effect on
the environment there. There is a limited amount of tourists but the more ships
there are the more accidents there are, for example, the sinking of the M/V
Explorer in the Bransfield Strait after hitting an iceberg.
How is it protected?
Because Antarctica is so fragile and vulnerable it has to be protected. It is
protected by an international agreement which explains what humans can and
cannot do in Antarctica, for example, all tour expeditions must be guided and
none should environmentally sensitive areas. Also there was a voluntary
agreement to limit mining and a huge campaign by pressure groups (who tried
to influence the views of others). Other activities such as fishing and whaling
have not been banned but strictly regulated with the aim of making them
When and why do tourists go there?
Tourists go to Antarctica in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer because that is
the best time to have clear ice-free seas, see breeding animals etc. Tourists go
there for the amazing glacial scenery and fantastic wildlife, e.g., Orcas, penguins.