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Published on : Monday, June 27, 2016
At present, 40 companies, from yacht-firms to cruise lines, are trying to book landing sites from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).
Currently, the travel firms get a restricted access in Antarctica. Port Lokroy, Deception Islands are some of the places, which the tour operators are desperate to add to their itinerary.
To ensure a minimal damage, the tourism authority in Antarctica has prohibited the tour operators to mention the name of any particular place in their travel brochure.
Antarctica is considered to be the least visited travel destination in the world. But this is also the reason why some of the tourists choose to visit this pristine land. Tourists like to explore the place only because it is an untouched wilderness.
During 2015, almost 38,478 people have visited Antarctica. Although the number is not much in comparison to the number of tourists in a popular destination. But still, ‘deep field’ trips in the frosty region are drawing the attention of several tourists.
According to a forecast by IAATO, the number of visitors in the icy lands will experience a hike of almost 14% in 2017.
The guidelines by IAATO will ensure that minimal number of tourists will land in the icy surface and the guidelines will also keep the tourists away from the wildlife. The tourists will not be able to walk past the particular limit set by IAATO.
In May 2016, at a meeting of Antarctica treaty, India and New Zealand have suggested a strategic approach for Antarctica tourism. The NGO, Antarctica and Southern Ocean Coalition has also presented a paper to suggest some parts of the peninsula to be made inviolate.
According to Claire Christian, the acting executive director of the coalition, tourism in the region is currently under control. But, the condition may not remain this well-managed for long. She says that the rules by IAATO are not mandatory for anyone right at this moment and no one has joined the guidelines yet.
The tour operators have promised that the environment in Antarctica will not be harmed and they have also promised that nothing will undermine the unique environment of the icy kingdom.