Perspective: Strategic challenges of tourism development and governance in Antarctica: taking stock and moving forward

Lamers, M.A.J.; Liggett, D.; Amelung, B.


Antarctic tourism has grown rapidly in volume and diversified into an ever wider range of activities, transport modes and destinations. Antarctica is a global commons, which limits the range of options for regulating tourism development. This configuration has raised concerns and debates among academics, policy makers and interest groups about the challenges for regulation and management in the long term. Based on a literature review of recently published research and policy papers, this article takes stock of the current state of knowledge about the strategic challenges facing Antarctic tourism regulators and proposes ways forward for research and policy. Three clusters of strategic challenges are presented: addressing collective interests in the face of increasingly diverging interests of actors; the complex nature and indeterminacy of Antarctic tourism processes and impacts across different spatial and temporal scales; and the reliance on shared responsibility in developing and implementing tourism policy. In light of these strategic challenges, this article outlines aspects that need to be improved if a more strategic governance approach is to be embraced towards Antarctic tourism. The paper posits that a collective strategy on Antarctic tourism should be positioned at the heart of Antarctic tourism regulation and should be developed to address upcoming challenges more comprehensively and consistently. Finally, besides identifying policy instruments capable of contributing towards this strategy, independent monitoring and observation systems ought to be created to guarantee impartial checks and balances with regard to Antarctic tourism.