Is it ethically acceptable to visit Antarctica? Are we ruining the last great wilderness by visiting it? Should tourists be banned? These are just some of the questions that are floating around on the internet. To answer them, we got talking to our CEO, Rohan Prakash, who travelled to Antarctica in 2019.
On average, Earth's last wild frontier sees about 60-70K tourists in a year. While the number may seem a lot. It is not the only factor that is impacting the ecosystem of the destination.
In the day and age we live, every small action in our day-to-day life like travelling by car for grocery shopping, taking flights for business travel, etc. contributes to global warming and harms the environment (yes, even Antarctica from miles away) without us being 100% aware. And our central thought, in this case, should be to reverse our negative impact even in the smallest way possible instead of banning things or travel entirely.
Rohan backs the claim and says, While there’s always a certain level of footprint that travellers leave behind but compared to a scenario where we have no tourism, I would prefer the former. Because banning tourism will allow a lot of activities to happen under the radar, which can be detrimental to the environment. Promoting controlled tourism will avoid that completely and rather educate travellers on Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty and International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) ensures that”.
Now putting this in retrospect, 70K tourists visiting is 70K tourists turned into ambassadors by being forced to realise the impact our daily actions at home are causing to this far off pristine environment and its biodiversity. And with no native population, this is an important step as it creates a global community of people ready to support and fund its preservation.
Despite the IAATO, tour operators have a major role to play in the preservation of Antarctica. And as tourists the responsibility is on you to ensure that your travel agent is taking the utmost care while planning a trip to Antarctica.
Not just Rohan but most of our travellers who have been to Antarctica have claimed that this journey has been life-transforming. The peace and ethereal landscapes have encouraged them to sit up and take notice of climate change and make small and big changes to their life to protect nature’s fragility.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below. Should a visit to Antarctica be banned? Or should the efforts to educate the world on the world’s last wild frontier continue?