How IAATO protects the magnificence of Antarctica

Tourism to the seventh continent has expanded in popularity over the years, but the perception that there is little regulation of the industry has persisted. When larger cruise ships started to arrive and, specifically, after the sinking of the GAP Explorer in November 2007 (thankfully, everyone was safely evacuated) some commentators feared catastrophic accidents and the potential for environmental damage.

Antarctica is governed by an international treaty that came into force in 1961 and which is now signed by more than 50 nations. While the treaty is very good at ensuring the continent is maintained as a natural reserve, and has the intention of preserving the last unspoiled continent in the world, the treaty system works on a consensus basis. Decision making can be an arduous process.

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