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Antarctic Tourism Is Becoming a Victim of Its Own Success

Excerpt from Taipei Times

Jan 12, 2014 4:00 am

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It is no doubt a stunning experience, but as with other tourism to remote areas, the more people that come to Antarctica, the less pristine and perfect it will remain.

— Jason Clampet

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Andrew Peacock  / Reuters

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy is pictured stranded in ice in Antarctica, December 29, 2013. An Antarctic blizzard has halted an Australian icebreaker's bid to reach a Russian ship trapped for a week with 74 people onboard, rescuers said on Monday. The Aurora Australis had to return to open waters about 18 nautical miles from the stranded Akademik Shokalskiy because of poor visibility, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is co-ordinating the rescue, told Reuters. Picture taken December 29, 2013. Andrew Peacock / Reuters


The challenging rescue operation launched after a Russian ship became trapped in Antarctic pack ice last month shows the inherent risks facing the frozen continent’s burgeoning tourist industry, experts say.

Antarctica represents one of the last frontiers for adventurous travelers, an icy wonderland of glaciers, emperor penguins and seemingly endless white expanses.

However, as those aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy found out, blizzards, icebergs and treacherous seas are also a fact of life at one of the most remote locations on Earth, where help is often thousands of kilometers away.

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