Tourism in Antarctica is rapidly growing and diversifying, which raises concerns about its impacts and the robustness of the current regulatory regime. Focusing on the analysis of past developments and trends of Antarctic tourism, this paper aims to describe the future opportunities for tourism in Antarctica.
Using literature on the recreation opportunity spectrum (ROS) and ecotourism opportunity spectrum (ECOS), the paper analyzes the future opportunities of Antarctic tourism and the key factors that determine the window of opportunity for Antarctic tour operators.
The analysis shows that tourism opportunities in Antarctica are defined by a combination of factors, which the authors integrate into an Antarctic tourism opportunity spectrum (ATOS). The paper argues that the opportunity settings for tourism in Antarctica vary from operations of increasing scale and efficiency to the continued development of smaller scale niche products, both of which will continue to diversify and drive the development of tourism in Antarctica.
The paper is an attempt to transfer the concept of ROS, originally designed for the operational level of national park management, to the more strategic level of tourism trends in Antarctica. The research findings are based on stakeholder interaction within a limited number of countries.
The paper is a potential source of information and advice for policy makers and managers of Antarctic resources, as well as scholars interested in Antarctic tourism issues.
The paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the regulation of tourism in Antarctica.
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