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Tourism in Antarctica

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 2 (476 words)
Categories: Tourism, World
Downloads: 20
Views: 315

Oil spills, although reasonably infrequent, are major threats to nearby wildlife. Increased tourism is also bringing about the invasion of alien species and spores into Antarctica, and although species such as the Mediterranean mussel will not be able to thrive on the ice shelf due to the temperatures, they can prove to be a threat to the marine wildlife when growing on ship hulls. Most tourists to Antarctica have flown to southern areas such as Punta Arenas in Chile or New Zealand.

The pollution created by these long-distance flights is considerable and contributes to global warming. In addition to this, as global warming melts away floating ice sheets on the water, there will be space for larger ships to arrive, resulting in more tourists, and an increase in the issues aforementioned. Furthermore, there are the issues which are prevalent in all tourist destinations, such as litter, sewage, and overcrowding.

What is being done to minimise the impact of tourism? All 100+ tour operators in Antarctica are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators), which urges tour operators to be environmentally-friendly, and to urge their clients to also do so.

Tourism is very much legal and acceptable in Antarctica, and it is only the scale of this which needs to be controlled.

SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), such as Bird Island on South Georgia are laid out beforehand, and tourists are not allowed to visit these, in order to preserve wildlife and certain habitats. In order to partake in any activities on the island, a permit is required, so that this can be regulated. Ships landing in Antarctica cannot be carrying more than 500 people, with only 100 being allowed to disembark at once and ships carrying heavy fuel oil (normally large passenger ships) are not allowed to enter Antarctic waters.

The number of cruise vessels at any one site in the Antarctic has been limited to 40, and only one ship is allowed to land at each site at once. In addition to this, no waste or litter is to be left at the tourist sites, tourists are not allowed to walk on the lichens or moss and no tourist is allowed to go within 5 metres of an animal. All tour guides are officially trained and are experienced scientific personnel who have been involved in research in Antarctica.

Waste disposal is tightly regulated, with prohibitions of the dumping of waste anywhere in the Antarctic continent, with ships now having purpose-built waste containment facilities. This shows how sustainable tourism in Antarctica is a high priority, and how there are many measures taken to minimise the negative impacts of tourism. Although these measures are effective now, it is unknown whether they will stay in place in the future, and if Antarctica will retain its title as the ‘World’s last true wilderness’ for much longer.

Cite this essay

Tourism in Antarctica. (2017, Oct 19). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/tourism-in-antarctica-essay

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