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Observing sustainable tourism in Antarctica
Date:2/22/2008

he mid-1990s to 35,000 in 2006. In 1991, in recognition of the potential environmental impact, IAATO was set up promote the highest possible standards of travel. It now has 100 members from 15 different countries.

The Antarctic supports immense marine biodiversity, including numerous species of seabirds and iconic penguin and albatross species, as well as seals, whales and countless billions of marine invertebrates that fuel the food chain.

The region was afforded special protection under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and the adoption in 1991 of the Environmental Protocol. This designates Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science and seeks to ensure that human activities, including tourism, do not have adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment, or on its scientific and aesthetic values.

IAATOs observer scheme was established just over ten years ago. Their Observers sail onboard ships making their maiden voyage to Antarctica.

Denise Landau, Executive Director of IAATO said: Effective self-regulation and the development of best practices by industry, government and the science community are necessary in order to protect the Antarctic environment. IAATO is a member organization founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. Over the last 17 years we have developed a system of management principles and guidelines which have successfully mitigated environmental impacts and provided a framework for sustainable travel in the Antarctic.

Dr Lambert is an expert on the relationship between tourism and the environment. His job onboard was to ensure that rigorous IAATO guidelines are upheld. This included everything from waste disposal, the details of crew and staff briefings to contingency and emergency medical evacuation plans. The regulations stop anything from cigarettes and food, even golf balls, going overboard.

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Contact: Dr. Robert Lambert
robert.lambert@nottingham.ac.uk
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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