The environmental impacts of tourism in Antarctica: increasing complexity and global challenges.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Tourism in Antarctica has increased steadily over the last two decades and established itself as a legitimate Antarctic activity. Since 1991 the Antarctic tourism industry has self-organized in the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), imposing a wide range of operational and environmental procedures on its members. The Environmental Protocol, adopted, ratified and implemented domestically by the Antarctic Treaty Parties in the 1990s set out the environmental protection of Antarctica from all human activities, including tourism. Some Treaty Parties expressed concern but tourism was not considered a priority issue between 1994 and 2000. Since 2001 the question of additional measures has received closer attention at the Antarctic Treaty Consultancy Meetings. Recently, additional measures have been taken with regard to a number of tourism issues, among them site-specific guidelines for a number of frequently visited tourist landing sites (Bastmeijer & Roura 2004, Crosbie 2005). Alongside the political debate, from 1990 until recently an impressive body of academic literature has developed about the desirability, implications and manageability of tourism in the fragile, pristine and extreme Antarctic environment. A limited number of empirical scientific studies into the impacts of tourism on Antarctic biota and ecosystems have also been carried out (Stonehouse & Crosbie 1995, Naveen 2000). Within this lively academic debate, environmental impacts and risks of tourism have played a central role. This paper is a review of a number of academic papers that were published in the period from 1990 until recently. In this paper, I will assess the environmental risks and impacts presented in these papers and discuss some of its limitations and complications for academic research. Implications for management and regulation will be largely left out of this discussion. I would like to note that this review is based on a limited number of research papers and is by no means complete. Before moving towards the main discussion of this paper, I will provide some context by briefly sketching the historical and current state of play in Antarctic tourism.
- Literature Reviews