Environmentally friendly tourism

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What should you look for in an eco-tourism holiday in Antarctica?

Eco-tourism in Antarctica aims to allow tourists to explore, experience and utilise Antarctica without having adverse effects on the environment. Most companies now claim to be ‘eco’ and “responsible.” Read ‘Guidelines for responsible travel’ which gives guidelines which should be used by tour operators in Antarctica to ensure trips are responsible and sustainable.

Guidelines for responsible tourism


Environmental Protocol

to the Antarctic Treaty implemented in 1998 sets out environmental principles, procedures and obligations for the protection of the Antarctic environment and its dependent and associated ecosystems. The Environmental Protocol designates Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science. It seeks to ensure that human activities, including tourism, do not have adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment. The ATCM has taken a number of steps to manage visitor activities such as Sit Guidelines and the restriction of passenger numbers.

The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) is an umbrella industry group which has tried to set high tourism operation standards in an attempt to preserve and protect the environment of Antarctica. By becoming a member of IAATO, operators adhere to its guidelines.

The information on this page is sourced from the IAATO. Below is a simplified version of the IAATO guidelines.

When visiting Antarctica, operators should:

  • Notify the authorities in advance, of activities to/in Antarctica

  • Conduct an environmental assessment

  • Be self sufficient and safe

  • Respect scientific research and the environment. Respect restricted areas and protection of flora and fauna

  • Prevent disposal and discharge of prohibited waste.

When in the Antarctic Treaty Area, operators should:

  • Comply with Antarctic Treaty and laws. Ensure tourists are also aware of them.

  • Ensure tourists are supervised by sufficient number of guides

  • Monitor environmental impacts of activities

  • Operate ships/boats safely and according to procedures

  • Dispose of waste materials according to the Protocol. Discharges of plastics, oil and noxious substances are not allowed. Regulate discharge of sewage and food waste. Most wastes are should be removed from the area.

  • Cooperate with inspectors

  • Cooperate in monitoring programmes

  • Maintain a complete record of activities

  • Small boat operators are advised to decontaminate boats, shoes and equipment before landing on Antarctica to prevent the introduction of species from outside.

Learn more about the guidelines for responsible tourism at the following websites:

This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at discoveringantarctica.org.uk

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