Know, Appreciate, Protect
To truly appreciate a work of art, such as a piece of music or a painting, one has to invest some time to learn about it.
To truly appreciate a work of art, such as a piece of music or a painting, one has to invest some time to learn about it. What was the artist communicating? What was the context in which the work was created? Why are feeling the way we do when we are exposed to it? Learning about a work of art allows us to appreciate it and, sometimes, to love it.
The same premise frames our approach to Antarctic tourism. We want to share our passion for Antarctica with you and we want to help you discover Antarctica in all its majestic beauty. Our hope is that you will fall in love with the White Continent and, as with all things we love, we hope that you will be moved to protect it.
Antarctic tourism has been growing at a steady pace since the early 1990s, and now about 30,000 travellers set foot on Antarctica every year. While this seems like an insignificant number for a continent of 14 million square kilometres (for comparison, over 200,000 travellers visit the Galapagos Islands every year, an archipelago of only 8,000 square kilometres) Antarctica is like no other place on earth. It is of vital important that all visitors arrive well informed and that they act in ways that ensure the protection of Antarctica’s pristine environment.
A key moment in the evolution of Antarctic tourism has been the creation of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, IAATO, of which Antarctica21 is a full member. IAATO has resolved to set the highest possible tourism operating standards in its effort to protect Antarctica. This effort is unique, and the challenge to maintain environmentally responsible tourism exists to this extent in no other region of the world. In fulfillment of its many objectives, IAATO works to enhance public awareness and concern for the conservation of the Antarctic environment and its associated ecosystems, and to create a corps of ambassadors for the continued protection of Antarctica.
Tourism is and should continue to be a driving force in Antarctic conservation. We know that first-hand travel experiences supported by education lead to a better understanding of the destination. We know that you, as a privileged visitor to Antarctica, will be moved to protect Antarctic wildlife, respect protected areas, and keep this glorious part of our planet pristine. We also hope you will return home as an ambassador of goodwill, guardianship, and peace.