Overtourism in Antarctica
Tourism in the Antarctic region predates the Antarctic Treaty itself and has been a matter of discussion among Antarctic Treaty states since the early Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings beginning in 1961. Antarctic tourism growth, in particular, has resulted in significant discussion in Antarctic Treaty fora and also generated substantial academic interest. Earlier ATCM instruments on tourism addressed issues such as regulating tourist visits to stations, protecting designated areas and historic monuments, and preventing tourist landings in newly formed islands. At the time, few tourism ships travelled to the Antarctic region, and only a few hundreds of tourists visited the region each season.
In contrast, Antarctic tourism nearing the 2019-2020 season is an established, robust industry that transports tens of thousands of tourists to Antarctica each year over a season lasting approximately five months. However, the relative predictability of Antarctic tourism over the past two decades – steady overall growth managed by limited industry-led regulation – seems to be about to change. Significant growth is predicted in the next few years, which puts again the focus on tourism growth as an issue that merits consideration from the industry, decision makers, competent authorities and other stakeholders."...