New Economic Insights and Case Studies
Chapter 5: Antarctic Tourism: Environmental Concerns and the Importance of Antarctica’s Natural Attractions for Tourists
5.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter draws on the results of surveys of tourists who undertook an Antarctic journey in January 2003 aboard the Antarctic cruise ship, Akademik Ioffe. These surveys were designed to determine the socioeconomic profile of these travellers, to evaluate the importance to them of Antarctic wildlife for their travel, and to discover their attitudes to Antarctic wildlife conservation as well as to environmental issues involving Antarctica, both prior to and following their visit to Antarctica. This chapter reports on the socio-economic profile of respondents, their willingness to pay for their Antarctic trip, and their knowledge of Antarctica. The comparative importance of Antarctic wildlife as a factor motivating respondents to undertake their journey is assessed and the evaluation by travellers of the features of their journey following their visit is considered. The relative importance of different Antarctic wildlife species is taken into account as well as attractions other than wildlife. The attitudes of respondents to several environmental issues involving Antarctica (for example, the commercial use of its natural resources and global environmental change impacting on Antarctica) are canvassed and summarised. In the concluding section, the relevance of the survey results for Antarctic conservation is discussed. Particular attention is given to the question of whether Antarctic tourism favours or threatens Antarctic nature conservation. While visits by tourists have increased considerably (see, for example, IAATO, 2011a), Antarctica is still far from a mass tourism destination partly because the cost of a cruise is quite high. For example, in January 2003, we...
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