Antarc­tica tourism rules ur­gent: ex­perts

Viet Nam News - - WORLD -

BUENOS AIRES — Tourism reg­u­la­tion in Antarc­tica has be­come an ur­gent mat­ter due to en­vi­ron­men­tal threats, of­fi­cials from the 53 mem­ber coun­tries of the Antarc­tic Treaty warned at their an­nual meet­ing, held this week in Buenos Aires.

In the ab­sence of rules, travel agen­cies of­fer trips to the re­gion on boats some­times equipped with he­li­copters or sub­marines, ac­cord­ing to Se­go­lene Royal, French am­bas­sador for the Arc­tic and Antarc­tic poles.

“This ac­tiv­ity cre­ates con­sid­er­able dis­tur­bance ... we are wit­ness­ing a race to­ward large-scale tourism that is dan­ger­ous for ecosys­tems,” she said at the assem­bly on Wed­nes­day.

Dur­ing the aus­tral sum­mer of 2016/2017, around 44,000 tourists set off for Antarc­tica, com­pared with just 9,000 in 1995/1996, ac­cord­ing to French au­thor­i­ties.

How­ever, the push for reg­u­la­tion is not about ban­ning tourism, for­mer en­vi­ron­men­tal min­is­ter Royal said, but rather about en­sur­ing it is man­aged in com­pli­ance with the treaty and its en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion pro­to­col.

In Buenos Aires, the Antarc­tic Treaty Con­sul­ta­tive Meet­ing — whose mis­sion is to reg­u­late hu­man ac­tiv­ity on the con­ti­nent — also sought to en­cour­age sci­en­tific co­op­er­a­tion be­tween coun­tries that have col­lec­tively set up around 100 re­search bases across the ice.

Also up for anal­y­sis is China’s proposed fifth per­ma­nent sci­en­tific sta­tion in Antarc­tica, which would be lo­cated in the Ross Sea area south of New Zealand.— AFP

Dur­ing the aus­tral sum­mer of 2016/2017, around 44,000 tourists set off for Antarc­tica, com­pared with just 9,000 in 1995/ 1996. — AFP/VNA Photo

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