Antarctica is hotter than ever according to the latest figures released by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) who recorded a 15% increase in visitors travelling to Antarctica with IAATO members throughout the 2016-2017 Antarctic season.
For 2017-2018, Antarctica visitation is projected to see a 5% increase to reach a peak of 46,385.
The number of UK visitors increased by 19% compared to the previous year, ranking them fifth on the list of passenger nationalities, behind the US, China, Australia and Germany.
According to Polar Specialist Chimu Adventures, there are many reason for Antarctic tourism growth, the most obvious being increased air capacity and misconceptions regarding accessibility and affordability. Also contributing to the destination’s growing appeal is the increased amount of unique experiences to be found on Antarctic waters.
“While Antarctica stays the indisputable bucket list icon of expedition cruising, travellers are no longer just lured by the destination’s physical distinctiveness alone” said Simon Evans, UK Manager of Polar Specialist Chimu Adventures.
“While first and foremost, travellers still take a trip to Antarctica for its obvious drawcards such as its remoteness, exclusivity and spectacular wildlife, we are seeing that more and more travellers are opting for travel options that go beyond the ‘ordinary’ expedition cruise, looking for that additional spark of uniqueness, that wow factor that makes the trip extra unique” he added.
As Chimu Adventures are preparing for this record breaking season, the company would like to assure travellers that, as a proud member of IAATO, they work under strict guidelines to ensure tourism impact on Antarctic wildlife and the environment is minimised at all times.
‘Sustainability is one of our core values here at Chimu and we believe that the world’s love for this incredible place, and people’s desire to see it, are some of the factors that have been keeping it so fiercely protected’ added Evans.
‘We want our guests to become vocal ambassadors to help us spread the word about how important this last true natural untouched wonder really is as for us, creating advocacy is the strongest and most effective way to really make a difference.’
According to Evans, these are the top unique experiences for the 2017-18 Antarctic cruising season:
On the 28-day sail and ski adventure Ski Antarctica, get onto the pristine white slopes, seek virgin terrain and climb unique peaks and go sea kayaking amongst ice and penguins.
Camp on ice
As part of the 18-day Shackleton’s Antarctica, adventurers will have a chance of camping on the ice, the ultimate off the beaten track adventure for many.
Visit East Antarctica
The 26-day In the Wake of Mawson expedition, retracing the footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson, is a collaboration between Chimu and Mawson’s Hut Foundation, giving guests exclusive access to the very rare tourist ships departing Hobart, Australia for East Antarctica.
Dive Antarctic waters
It may not be your obvious diving destination, but gliding through the amazing icy blue waters of the Antarctic is sure to impress with fascinating underwater encounters with Antarctic marine life. The 19-day Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula includes a diving option.