A long term strategy for Antarctic tourism: The key to decision making within the Antarctic Treaty System?

C.J. Bastmeijer

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


    The fast increase of Antarctic tourism raises various management questions. Questions relating to the safety of tourists, questions regarding the interaction between science and tourism and questions relating to direct, indirect or cumulative affects on Antarctica's environment and wilderness values. This publication discusses how the states involved in the Antarctic Treaty System and the tourism sector have responded to these concerns and what the future might bring. To discuss the progress made, the publication provides an overview of international Antarctic tourism management over the period of 1990 to 2008.

    It is concluded that for many years Consultative Parties have been reluctant to adopt any legally binding measures in respect of tourism that would go beyond the Protocol. In recent years the responsibility of the ATCM is stressed more explicitly and some additional recommendations have been agreed; however, these recommendations relate primarily to non-legally binding resolutions that are often based on work established by the self-regulation system of IAATO. The most important strategic questions have been debated at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs) but are still waiting for a clear answer. Examples of these questions are discussed in this publication.

    At the most recent ATCM, the United Kingdom proposed the development of a long term strategy on Antarctic tourism. Whether this will be the key to future ATCM decision making on tourism management issues is uncertain. Are all Consultative Parties indeed willing to work on such a strategy? And more concrete, are Consultative Parties willing to accept policy making that in the future may require amendment(s) of their domestic legislation? Would Consultative Parties accept a precautionary approach, at least to a certain degree? In view of the potential advantages of such a strategy (discussed in the publication) it appears worthwhile trying. Next year, in April 2009 in Baltimore U.S.A., the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty will be celebrated. Wouldn't this be a wonderful occasion to reach substantial progress in addressing the strategic questions regarding Antarctic tourism that have been on the table for so many years?
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPolar tourism
    Subtitle of host publicationHuman, environmental and governance dimensions
    EditorsP. Maher, E. Stewart, M. Lück
    Place of PublicationElmsford, NY
    PublisherCognizant Communication Corporation
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Antarctic
    • Antarctic Treaty
    • tourism
    • cumulative impacts
    • environmental impact assessment
    • EIA
    • IAATO
    • strategy for Antarctic tourism
    • permanent facilities
    • precuationary approach
    • Madrid Protocol
    • self-regulation
    • wilderness


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