At approximately 13,661,000 km2 Antarctica, including its islands and ice shelves, is nearly twice the size of Australia. It is the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent in the world and yet despite these challenges, visitor numbers to Antarctica have risen for the seventh season in a row according to figures released by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).
If you fancy a trip to Antarctica, don’t let the increase in numbers be something that puts you off. Visitors to Antarctica are still relatively low in comparison to other destinations. The IAATO’s figures show that there were 51,707 visitors in the 2017-2018 season (the equivalent of an only half-filled MCG), so it is still, without a doubt, a small and exclusive destination.
In addition to the obvious appeal of small visitor numbers, all tour operators that visit Antarctica are required to be members of the IAATO. As such they have the shared responsibility of ensuring that tourism activities do not have a negative impact on the ecosystems and environments of Antarctica.
Their obligation ensures that visitor numbers going ashore are strictly limited and that only one ship is at a landing site at any one time. They also make sure that strict staff to passenger ratios are maintained and that site-specific etiquette and guidelines and are adhered to. It means that a great deal of work and planning goes into putting together an Antarctica itinerary and the upshot of this is a selection of incredibly high-quality options for the environmentally responsible traveller to choose from.
Have a browse through our Antarctica Tours and Cruises at the amazing trips on offer if you think would like to be one of the lucky few who get to experience this amazing destination this season.