University of Tasmania
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Managing Antarctic tourism

posted on 2023-05-26, 03:55 authored by Tracey, Phillip John
Antarctic tourism began before the Antarctic Treaty was signed, and is now a substantial industry exhibiting rapid growth. Concern has been expressed about the effects of tourism on scientific, environmental and other important Antarctic values. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty forms the main mechanism for managing Antarctic tourism within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). This thesis argues that despite the framework provided by the Protocol, the tourism management system is inadequate, and that the management systems governing similar forms of tourism in other natural areas provide a superior model. The research included a comprehensive analysis of the industry and its development. Physical, environmental, operational and geographical aspects of Antarctic tourism were analysed. An examination of site use and the spatial development of tourism shows that concern about high use levels is justified for a small proportion of sites, and identifies trends in the geographic spread of tourism activity. The impacts of tourism on Antarctic values were reviewed, with the main concerns identified as low-risk, high-magnitude impacts, and cumulative impacts. Social, economic, and industrial aspects of tourism were analysed. The economic analysis shows the market economic value of the industry to be approximately fifty five million US dollars for the 1996/97 season. A forecast of the development of Antarctic tourism predicts continued growth, increasing diversification, and development of substantial new markets. The management of Antarctic tourism was examined in detail. The system includes tourism management within the ATS, measures imposed from outside the ATS, and industry self regulation. An analysis of the legislative and administrative approaches of different nations shows that there is considerable variation in the way that tourism management provisions of the Protocol are interpreted and applied. Detailed case studies were conducted on the management of tourism at southern oceanic islands and northern polar locations. The case studies show that cruise tourism is managed very differently in these areas than in the Antarctic, with management planning regarded as the most appropriate model for management. Management measures specific to cruise tourism in high latitude locations were identified. It is argued that there are significant shortcomings in the tourism management system, based on analysis of the existing system, the characteristics of the industry and the Antarctic environment, management planning theory, and the standards set by management of similar activities in the case study areas. An alternative model for the management of Antarctic tourism using a management planning approach is proposed, taking into account the case studies, industry analysis and forecast, and the structure and implementation of the present system. The thesis argues that this alternative is suitable for application within the framework of the ATS, and that it would overcome the shortcomings identified in the existing management system.


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