Antarctica is hotter than ever according to the latest figures released by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), who recorded a 15 percent increase in visitors traveling to Antarctica with IAATO members throughout the 2016-2017 Antarctic season.
For 2017-2018, Antarctica visitation is projected to see a 5 percent increase to reach a peak of 46,385.
The number of U.S. visitors remained numerous, increasing by 7 percent compared to the previous year, ranking them first on the list of passenger nationalities, the IAATO said.
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 Greg Carter, co-founder at 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 said.