Antarctic Tourism and Maritime Heritage
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Maritime History 2010, 22(2)
Maritime activities in the Antarctic region date back to the eighteenth century. They evolved from exploration and discoveries to commercial enterprises, especially sealing, whaling and fishing. Antarctic tourism is a much more recent phenomenon, developing mainly from the 1950s and 1960s. Today over 40,000 tourists visit the Antarctic annually, most of them on cruise ships. This essay reviews the historical development of this tourism. The focus is on how maritime heritage has been treated and interpreted by both tourists and the tourism industry. I address these issues in the context of public history. One aspect is to analyze how maritime heritage has been related to the other major attractions experienced by the Antarctic tourist, such as natural scenery, abundant wildlife and pristine environment. A second aspect considers the historic over-exploitation of seals and whales and the potential for conflict between the wildlife attractions and specific aspects of Antarctic heritage. The analysis therefore focuses on the possible ambiguity in how maritime heritage has been interpreted. Concurrently, it is about brave adventurers and polar explorers. It is also about resource exploitation and commercial activities that are controversial among many Antarctic tourists today.
-This is the author's version of the article"Antarctic Tourism and Maritime Heritage", International Journal of Maritime History;Dec2010, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p226