Hot debate over Antarctic tourism in New Delhi
Tourism is the activity that brings the largest number of people to Antarctica nowadays. It is a topic that is hotly debated at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in New Delhi this week.
In the last decade, tourism has swiftly emerged as the activity that is bringing the largest number of people to Antarctica. The number of shipborne visitors has increased by four-fold between 1995 and 2005. The 2006/07 season saw the largest tourist vessel ever to operate in Antarctic waters. The Golden Princess carried 3,700 persons: more people than the peak summer population for all Antarctic national programs.
Up to now, Antarctic tourism is not regulated. There are some reporting obligations, voluntary guidelines relating to particular sites, and generic environmental impact assessment obligations for all who go to Antarctica. But there