'Special Offer: 7 Days Fly & Drive Antarctica' a Paper on the Role of Wilderness Protection in Deciding Whether (Semi) Permanent Tourist Facilities in Antarctica Should Be Prohibited
C.J.Bastmeijer, 'Special Offer: 7 Days Fly & Drive Antarctica' in: Alan Watson, Liese Dean, and Janet Sproull (eds.), 'Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values', published by the Rocky Mountain Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, forthcoming 2007.
11 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2007
Antarctica is often described as one of 'world's last wildernesses'. Since 1990, tourism to this wilderness is developing rapidly. In a period of 15 years, the number of tourists that make landings in Antarctica has increased from 2,500 (1990/91) to more than 23.000 (2004/05). The diversity of tourist activities is also increasing. The 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty explicitly provides Antarctica's 'wilderness values' legal status, but do wilderness values indeed play a role in the current international debate on Antarctic tourism management? This contribution focuses on one of the main elements of this debate: the question whether the establishment of new (semi)permanent facilities for tourism in Antarctica should be prohibited. After analysing this debate and the issue of wilderness protection in Antarctic management more broadly, the author concludes that this question shows a parallel with the Antarctic mining debate in the 1980s and that the issue touches upon a more fundamental policy question: should Antarctica be preserved as a 'wilderness' with as limited evidence of human presence as possible or should Antarctica be managed as an 'international park' in which various values and functions are balanced, for instance through a spatial planning system?
Keywords: wilderness, Antarctica, permanent facilities, tourism management
JEL Classification: K32, K33, Q20, Q24, Q26, Q28, Q30, Q32, Q38
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