Chinese tourists receive the do’s and don’ts when visiting Antarctica
THE RISE in tourism to Antarctica has created concern about how best to preserve the pristine region.
In an attempt to maintain Antarctica’s natural beauty, China is releasing a set of rules that will be issued to Chinese travelers visiting the glacial continent.
Antarctica has seen a rise in tourism since the 1960s. As the continent became more accessible via air travel and larger fleets of cursing ships, tourists and amateur explorers have been able to conveniently book tours to this mostly untouched land.
In recent years, Australians and Americans have visited Antarctica the most, with the Chinese taking third spot. However, as China gains a growing middle-class population, those with disposable income are looking for more adventurous ways to spend their money, hence a tourism surge to Antarctica.
According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), Chinese tourists accounted for 5,289 of the travelers who visited the continent last year. This figure accounts for 12 percent of the total Antarctica tourists in 2017.
On Tuesday, the State Oceanic Administration released a draft of the Environmental Protection Regulation on Activities on Antarctica, but are still seeking suggestions and opinions on what else to include in the regulation bill.
As part of the draft regulation, tour companies and tourists alike must practice safety measures that prevent their trips from having a negative impact on Antarctica’s environment and ecosystem.
The new regulation also states that those who organize or participate in activities in Antarctica will have to pay for the pollution-clearing bill, in order to preserve Antarctica as a pollution-free zone.
Organizers will also be responsible for medical bills and any necessary rescues. The regulation also forbids collecting soil or rock samples, transporting anything toxic or hazardous to the environment, and under no circumstances can visitors take home animals.
Other violations of the regulation include building without permission and not taking away any waste which has been generated on the trip.
Anyone found in breach of the regulations will be blacklisted and prohibited from entering Antarctica for three years.