Antarctica: tourism, wilderness, and "ambassadorship"
Antarctica, as a continent, is one of the most beautiful, remote places on the planet. For many people Antarctica is a place of mystery, a place of historic exploration, discovery, and suffering. Antarctica is where huge icebergs sweep by populous penguin rookeries, and where majestic albatross sweep along on wind curling off the polar plateau. These preconceptions are perhaps why Antarctic tourism has grown substantially over the past two decades, now numbering nearly 15,000 visitors each year. Antarctic wilderness is vast, its flora and fauna not diverse, but plentiful and unique. The questions are now whether (1) tourism and wilderness are compatible, (2) tourism can support and conserve the Antarctic wilderness, and (3) Antarctic wilderness can support current or increased tourism. This paper is an attempt to reveal and combine some of the known information, but also acts as a call for further empirical research, including that proposed by the authors.... [Show full abstract]