Antarctica is unlike any other cruise destination in the world. Antarctica is Earth’s Southernmost, driest and coldest continent. According to the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica is a place devoted to peace and science. Although the continent is populated by penguins, seals, krills, whales, fish, it has no land mammals, nor native peoples. These special conditions made tourism in Antarctica to be quite successful for over 40 years.
Photo source: anpc
Tourism industry in Antarctica started in 1950 with very small groups of intrepid travelers. The first expedition with travelers happened in 1966 and was led by entrepreneur and explorer Lars Eric Lindblad. Three years later, Lindblad built the first expedition ship MS Explorer and opened the gate for tourism to Antarctica.
Since 1991 tourism in Antarctica is self-regulated by the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). Today, the organization has more than 102 members that are tour operators in Antarctica. The organization was founded to promote and practice environmentally responsible tourism on the continent.
Although IAATO applies strict limits to tour operators (the size of the ship and the number of visitors: ships carrying more than 500 passengers have been prohibited), Antarctica is visited annually by thousands of people. 2007-2008 was the peak tourism period with 46,000 visitors. The last season 2012-2013 brought 34,354 visitors.
Tourism in Antarctica takes place only in the austral summer which lasts from November to March. Usually tourists visit the Antarctic Peninsula because it is warmer in comparison with the rest of the continent. The average temperature during summer is usually around 2°C (36°F), while at the South Pole the highest temperature ever recorded was −12.3°C (9.9°F). The Antarctic Peninsula is sometimes called the “Banana Belt” and is accessible from Chile.
In general, excursions are limited to small cruise ships and sightseeing flights, sometimes specially mounted land expeditions. Taking into account that an Antarctic adventure requires intense logistics, the costs are very high. A day trip with a flight package can reach $5,000, while an experience of 11 nights might cost between $10,000 and $20,000.
Taking into account the big number of visitors annually we can only conclude that the Antarctic experience is worth every amount. Would you spend your holiday in Antarctica?
Top incoming search terms:
- tourism in antarctica
- antarctic tourism
- antarctica a tourism