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Published on : Friday, September 8, 2017
With the number of Chinese tourists to Antarctica going up to the No. 2 ranking, experts urged the country to speed up legislation on Antarctic travel for protecting the environment as well as safeguarding tourists’ safety and interests.
Last year, 5,286 Chinese tourists visited Antarctica, accounting to 12 percent of worldwide visitors there, second only to the United States with 14,566 tourists.
“The size of the market for Antarctic tourism grew dramatically with people’s rising interest in natural wonders, but the legislation in this respect lags behind,” said Qin Weijia, director of the China Arctic and Antarctic Administration.
“Among the 29 countries that are consultative parties of the Antarctic Treaty, China, together with India, Poland and Ecuador, are the only four that have not yet made laws to specify their citizens’ behavior and protect their safety when they travel to the most remote place on Earth,” Weijia added.
Yang Huigen, director of the Polar Research Institute of China, said, “The legislation may also put what President Xi Jinping said into practice — to pursue a community of shared future for mankind and to be a responsible great power.”
Ponant, a French cruise company, started offering polar excursions to Chinese three years ago. Prices for such tours range from $400 to $1,250 per person per night based on different cabins for a journey ranging from 11 to 16 days.
The legislation will be useful in case of accidents or trouble happening to Chinese tourists.