Antarctica Case Study Gcse Geography Keywords

Reasons people go on extreme holidays

  • To do something adventurous e.g. Ice Climbing
  • To enjoy a holiday with an element of Risk involved e.g. Rafting
  • To see scenery that can’t be seen anywhere else e.g. Ice bergs
  • To see wildlife that can’t be seen anywhere else e.g. Polar bears

Reasons for the increase in demand for extreme environments

  • Improvements in travel have made it easier and quicker to get to them.
  • People are keen to see these places while they can e.g. before the polar caps melt
  • TV Travel Programmes are making adventure holidays more appealing.

Case Study: Antarctica

Impacts of Tourism

  • Deforestation is caused by cutting down fuel for the tourists to get there
  • Footpath/ice erosion is caused by large numbers of tourists exploring at once
  • Litter and rubbish is being left on the ground
  • People are getting too close to the wildlife and many are fleeing their habitats
  • There is the threat of pollution, such as oil spills, from cruisers transporting people there
  • Some tourists interfere with Scientists' research by unknowlingly bringing in seeds or spores from other areas

Strategies used to reduce the impacts of Tourism

  • Only ships of 500 people or less can land in Antarctica and only 100 people are allowed on land at one time.
  • Smoking is banned on Antarctica
  • Wildlife is to be observed not to be approached
  • On tours, people are told not to wonder off and disturb scientific studies.
  • Visitors are advised to wear suitable Antarctic footwear to preserve the Ice.

There has been a steady increase in the numbers of tourists to Antarctica over the last 20 years.

Most tourists come to the Antarctic Peninsula. The reasons for the increase in tourist numbers include:

  • Tourism is a growing industry.

  • Media has made people more aware of extreme environments.

  • There are more flexible patterns of work.

  • Air travel is more economically viable, and can be booked more conveniently over the internet.

  • There has been a trend towards ecotourism [ecotourism: Tourism which aims to be environmentally friendly.]  or adventure tourism [adventure tourism: Tourism which aims to give an unusual experience.] .

  • People have more disposable income [disposable income: The income available for spending after taxes. ] .

  • The threat of climate change and environmental issues means some tourists want to go to locations before they change.

  • As the ice retreats more routes into Antarctica are opened up, allowing greater access for cruise ships.

  • Whether tourism should be allowed is a big question. This table shows some of the pros and cons:

    There are many guidelines in place, so the environmental impact can be minimised.The ecosystem is very fragile, and too many people will disrupt the delicate balance it has. It can take many years to recover, if at all.
    The awareness of the unique environment is increased as people are able to visit it.If larger ships come, tourist numbers will increase.
    There has been no conclusive evidence that tourism so far has disturbed breeding patterns of wildlife like penguins.Tourists, along with research scientists, may unknowingly bring seeds and spores of plants from other areas.
    Tour operators have voluntary codes of conduct to minimise the impacts – including not going within five metres of wildlife.There is the threat of pollution, eg oil spills from the cruise ships and other methods of transport. This happened in 2007.
    Tourists learn about the marine biology and threats because of climate change – they may become ambassadors for the area.


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