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Home* Antarctic News → New sta­tis­tics for tou­rism in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca

New sta­tis­tics for tou­rism in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca

The Inter­na­tio­nal Asso­cia­ti­on of Ant­ar­c­tic Tour ope­ra­tors has published new sta­tis­tics of tou­rism in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca. Num­bers for the now finis­hed 2013-14 sea­son are not fina­li­zed yet, but preli­mi­na­ry figu­res indi­ca­te a sta­ble deve­lo­p­ment wit­hout major chan­ges from pre­vious years. In the 2012-13 sea­son, a total of 34,316 tou­rists visi­ted Ant­ar­c­ti­ca, a figu­re not expec­ted to chan­ge too much for 2013-14. Accor­ding to a pro­gno­sis for 2014-15, expec­ted visi­tor num­bers of 36,545 indi­ca­te a future growth of 6-7 %.

The­re have not been lar­ge fluc­tua­tions sin­ce 2009-10: visi­tor num­bers have lar­ge­ly been sta­ble bet­ween 34,000 and 36,000, with the excep­ti­on of the 2011-12 sea­son, when num­bers drop­ped down to 26,500 fol­lo­wing the ban on hea­vy oil as ship fuel in the Ant­ar­c­tic Trea­ty area. As a con­se­quence, some lar­ger ships drop­ped Ant­ar­c­ti­ca as a desti­na­ti­on. A good deve­lo­p­ment from an envi­ron­men­tal per­spec­ti­ve, con­side­ring the poten­ti­al­ly dra­ma­tic con­se­quen­ces of a spill of hea­vy fuel/crude oil.

Out of about 35,000 tou­rists visi­ting Ant­ar­c­ti­ca, a lar­ge majo­ri­ty of 71 % is tra­vel­ling to the Ant­ar­c­tic Pen­in­su­la with small to medi­um-sized ships with fewer than 501 pas­sen­gers. The­se ships offer landings to their pas­sen­gers. As the maxi­mum num­ber of tou­rists ashore is limi­t­ed to 100, ships with more than 100 pas­sen­gers offer a rota­ti­on sys­tem.

Ships with more than 500 pas­sen­gers do not offer landings, they con­sti­tu­te the “crui­se only” cate­go­ry, which descri­bes exact­ly what they are doing (and what not). 27 % of ant­ar­c­tic tou­rism is crui­se only.

The pro­por­ti­on of tho­se who visit the inte­ri­or of Ant­ar­c­ti­ca by flight is small, num­be­ring about 1 %. This includes visits to the South Pole and moun­tai­nee­ring expe­di­ti­ons to Mount Vin­cent, the hig­hest moun­tain of Ant­ar­c­ti­ca.

Expe­di­ti­on crui­se ships at the South Shet­land Islands: this is how most tou­rists visit Ant­ar­c­ti­ca. MS Nordn­or­ge to the left, MV Gri­go­riy Mik­heev (not ope­ra­ting any­mo­re) to the right. A govern­men­tal sup­p­ly ship in the back­ground.

Tourism, Antarctica: ships at the South Shetland Islands

Source: IAATO

last modification: 2014-05-07 · copyright: Rolf Stange