An extreme environment: Antarctica
Where is Antarctica and why do people visit?
Antarctica is in the southern hemisphere and is an extremely cold environment. Tourists come to see the wildlife, take part in dog sledging, and ice walking or to visit the South Pole. In 2007 46,000 people visited this area. Over 100 travel companies are involved in arranging adventure holidays to Antarctica.
What is the impact of tourism?
Tourists often arrive on the island by cruise ship. The stops on the cruise are at nesting sites for penguins, or near to other tourist attractions which means large numbers of people regularly stop off in the same place creating honey pots. This leads to:
• Animals becoming stressed because of the crowds of people causing them to abandon eggs or their young • Cruise ships have struck icebergs causing oil spills which damages the environment and poisons the wildlife • Tourists need services to be provided for them such as toilets, equipment hire shops etc which changes the use of the land from the natural environment to buildings. How is tourism managed?
All tour operators that take tourists to Antarctica must be a member of IAATO which makes sure they stick to certain rules to protect the environment and the wildlife:
• Tourist ships must get rid of their waste far away from the coast of Antarctica to reduce the risk of pollution. • Visitors are not allowed to go to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to protect wildlife from being disturbed. • A permit must be gained before a company can allow tourists to take part in any adventure activities to reduce damage to the environment from unsafe or damaging activities • No ships carrying more than 500 people are allowed near
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