For the past few months I have explored the entire industry of tourism in Antarctica. I have learned a great deal and hope that you enjoyed following me on this journey. This final blog entry will be my conclusion based upon all of my research. Please keep in mind that although I will no longer be writing about tourism in Antarctica I will be exploring other topics.
I began this blog series by looking at the logistics of traveling to the seventh continent. Most people sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, which is the southern most part of South America and the closest continental landmass to Antarctica. However this gap of roughly 500 miles is some of the roughest sections of Ocean in the world. With regular swells of 50 feet it is not uncommon for vessels to sink in these treacherous waters. What causes this? There is a continuous current thousands of miles wide circulating around the continent. However this water is compressed into the short distance of 500 miles acting like a pressure nozzle creating huge swell and rough seas. Currently there are many cruise companies, which serve the market willing to cross these waters. However each year ships sink and get stuck in the ice. There seems to only one company serving those customers willing to shell out huge sums of money to fly to the continent. This company is Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions.
The climate of Antarctica is one of the harshest on earth. Fairly constant sub zero temperatures dipping in excess of -100 degrees life in this region is limited. Winds also tend to reach hurricane levels. This is not an uncommon situation. It can be so rough that without an enclosure man cannot survive. These conditions make it vey difficult to maintain client safety and keep clients happy.
The Future outlook on tourism is unknown at the moment. It seems as though the nations that created the Antarctic treaty aim to reduce the exponential growth of tourism Antarctica. What does this mean for businesses? Well I see it as a good thing. The few companies out there have such high demand that they will be able to raise their prices if forced to cut the number of clients. This destination will become even more exclusive than it already has become. Only the richest of the rich will be able to afford a spot. Demand will not decrease. Currently many of the cruises are about 2 to 3 times as expensive as normal cruises. If new regulation is passed I would not be surprised if prices double or even triple. The demand it their for such a price change to occur without negative impacts on such tour operators.
If you have a dream of traveling to the adventure continent of Antarctica do it now. The prices will likely be going up. While more regulation may be passed this will hurt the tourist more than the business. Due to this exponential growth there is now a growing market for high priced adventure tours. The extreme luxury market is the only market with the ability to withstand such changes. As supply decreases and demand maintains prices will increase dramatically. So go now, as prices will climb.
Sustainability Antarctic Travel?
Because of my background in sustainable tourism I would love the opportunity to get on my soapbox and preach about how tour operators in Antarctica should change the way they run their operation to make it sustainable. However the reality there is no such thing as sustainable Antarctic Travel. Because of the lack of infrastructure each tour must be independent and cannot rely on shared recourses to make such tours realistically ecofriendly. Yes there are changes that could be made but the sheer amount of recourses necessary to make such a trip possible prevent this type of travel as being classified as sustainable. This is at least true based upon current technology. In the future this my and likely will change.
I am a traveler, a student, a vagabond, a business owner, an entrepreneur and a dreamer. My name is Stuart Derman and welcome to the Digital Vagabond. The purpose of this blog is to integrate my personal travel experiences with trends and issues within the tourism field. My background is in electronic marketing within the tourism field.