Record number of luxury tourists in Antarctica despite the impact on its ecosystem


Experts warn in this video about the impact that this 2024 Antarctica is going to receive up to 100,000 tourists, 40% more than the previous record

The tourist attraction of Antarctica is that it is a remote place full of stillness where you can feel the immensity of nature. And despite the fact that the UN launched an alert 20 years ago to regulate its commercial exploitation, this year Antarctica will receive a record 100,000 tourists during the austral summer, which is 40% more than the previous record, who are looking to add a notch in their travel book.

Most of the tourists Antarctica receives are Americans and Chinese who travel on large cruise ships for a minimum of $12,000, and reach the coast in small boats. There are no hotels on land, but human presence is already beginning to alter the ecosystem.

The scientist Javier Benayas, Professor of Ecology at the UAM, has been investigating the impact of tourism for more than a decade: "There is an impact on the behavior of penguins and the presence of black carbon emissions from ships," he warns.

His colleague Jerónimo López, professor of Geodynamics at UAM, is now traveling to Deception Island, one of the most visited places in Antarctica, for geological research. He, too, has seen firsthand the changes in the ecosystem. "There are traces of antibiotics, nicotine, caffeine, microplastics...," he says.

Faced with this situation, the Antarctic Coalition and NGOs are calling for increased regulation of this luxury tourism to protect its wildlife and reduce pollution. "With the advance of climate change and the retreat of the ice, the tourist season and the areas that can be visited can be increased, and it must be regulated," says Elvira Jiménez, spokeswoman for Greenpeace.

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