Extreme tourism Antarctica

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  • Extreme tourism in Antarctica
    • About
      • Antarctica is the seventh continent and the only one without permanent human habitants.
      • It is the coldest, driest, windiest and highest of all continents.
    • Tourism in Antarctica
      • Small scale toursim began in Antarctica in the 1950s when commercial shipping began to take a few passengers.
      • The first specially designed cruise ship made its first voyage in 1969.
      • Some 9000 tourists arrived in 1992 which grew to 37,000 by 2006 and 46,000 by 2007.
      • There are many more tourists in Antarctica then scientific workers and their support teams that stay there temporarily for research purposes.
    • Impacts on the environment
      • The environmental impact of an extreme tourist is much greater than that of a researcher.
      • Landing sites are chosen fora specific feature so often become honeypot sites.
      • Extreme tourism activities cause great damage to the environment as they want to visit the most picturesque and wildlife rich areas, causing the impacts in specific areas to be much greater than elsewhere.
      • Animals, especially penguins and seals, are constantly disturbed by humans. They don't like being touched and can cause abandonment of eggs and young.
      • Accidents occasionally happen when ships strike uncharted rocks or ice, oil spills are becoming an increasing hazard for wildlife. So tourist ships must discharge all materials far away from the shore of Antarctica.
    • Responses
      • All tour operators are members of IATTO, which directs tourism to be safe and environmentally friendly.
      • Around 100 companies are involved, In line with the Antarctic treaty, tourism is an acceptable activity in Antarctica under strict controls.
      • Visitors are not allowed to visit the Special Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI) in order to conserve precious wildlife and landscapes.
      • Although tourist numbers have increased dramatically, protection remains the priority.
      • A permit must be gained for any activities on the continent.
      • No ship carrying over 500 passengers can land in Antarctica.
  • More than 99% of Antarctica is covered with ice so little is left for tourist activity. Activities include walking, kayaking, ice climbing and helicopter flights.
  • There is aconcern that larger ships will soon be able to land and that the tourism will be above sustainable limits due to an influx in tourists.

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