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The World's Best Antarctic Attraction? A case study of the role of Visitor Attractions in promoting a greater understanding of Antarctica

The World's Best Antarctic Attraction? A case study of the role of Visitor Attractions in promoting a greater understanding of Antarctica
Gabriela Roldan


Gabriela Roldan
PhD candidate, Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, New Zealand


Antarctic Tourism has been identified by the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) stakeholders among the challenges facing the future of Antarctica, with increasing concern on the environmental risks due to the unparalleled growth and diversification of the industry. The economic benefits of tourism have not benefited the continent yet or its governance, but it has generated economic advantages for Tour Operators, as well as developing place promotion and creating business opportunities for the Antarctic gateway cities. Calls are made for strict regulatory systems within the ATS, and even banning the activity in Antarctica. Although Tour Operators aim to create Antarctic ambassadors from travellers who experience Antarctica first hand, compliance to future restrictions may impact on existing operations and the future of Antarctic Tourism may rely on diversifying activities and visitor experiences outside 60°S latitude.

The case study is the Visitors Centre at The International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. Located within the working Antarctic Campus which houses several Antarctic National Programmes, this attraction has been operating effectively for over twenty years despite of Global Financial Crisis and the devastating earthquakes that affected the region in 2010 and 2011, decimating the city’s infrastructure and generating a dramatic decline of tourism.

This presentation examines the role of this Visitor Attraction in inspiring advocacy for Antarctica’s global significance. Understanding the value of visitors’ experience in an artificial environment and its contribution in asserting human connections with Antarctica exposes a different facet to consider for the future of Antarctic Tourism.

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Key dates

  • 11th June 2013
    Registrations close
  • 21st June 2013
    Registrations at the AAD open for staff
  • 24th June 2013
    Registrations at the venue open
  • 24th June 2013
    Conference commences
  • 26th June 2013
    Conference concludes

More key dates…

This page was last modified on 23 September 2013.