This indicator is no longer maintained, and is considered OBSOLETE.
A count of visits and visitor numbers to Australian Antarctic Territory sites and Australia's sub-Antarctic islands by Australian and overseas tour operators and private vessels. Data are also available for Australian tour operators that visit other (non-AAT) areas of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands. ...
TYPE OF INDICATOR
There are three types of indicators used in this report:
1.Describes the CONDITION of important elements of a system;
2.Show the extent of the major PRESSURES exerted on a system;
3.Determine RESPONSES to either condition or changes in the condition of a system.
This indicator is one of: PRESSURE
RATIONALE FOR INDICATOR SELECTION
Shipborne Antarctic tourist numbers have quadrupled in the past fifteen years. Antarctic tourism is expected to continue to exhibit high growth, particularly if more large cruise ships begin operating there. Antarctic tourism is currently concentrated around the Antarctic Peninsula area and associated sub-Antarctic islands. Apart from visits to Australia's sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island (which is managed by the State of Tasmania), there are currently only limited tourist visits to the AAT and other Australian sub-Antarctic islands. It is, however, important to track these activities due to the potential risk of cumulative environmental impact: the areas of most interest to tourists are those with concentrations of wildlife, with unique physical or biotic characteristics, or with heritage sites. Increased visits by tourist ships in Antarctic waters also increase the potential for oil spills, wildlife disturbance, effluent/waste discharges and introduced diseases.
DESIGN AND STRATEGY FOR INDICATOR MONITORING PROGRAM
Spatial scale: Australian Antarctic Territory and Australian sub-Antarctic islands visited by tour operators. Data from the Antarctic Peninsula (not Australian territory) is also included, from 2001-02 onwards, based on the reports of Australian tour operators who operate on the Peninsula. Note that Australian operators typically carry fewer than 10% of the total number of tourists in the Peninsula region, so the data does not reflect the overall pressure on that region.
Frequency: Collected/reported annually, based on austral summer season for tour activities.
Measurement technique: Data collected via initial environmental impacts assessments (EIAs) provided by operators/owners and via post visit reports. These data can be collated as required. Data on tourist visits/activities are also collected by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), although this information is predominantly about operators who are members of IAATO.
Australia must provide information on private vessel activities in the Antarctic Treaty Area as part of Antarctic Treaty reporting obligations. Information from operators is also sought, and provided in the EIAs, on the type of operation and tourist activities and measures taken to minimise environmental impacts, e.g. oil spills contingencies.
Several issues are of concern with regard to increased tourism activity in the Antarctic region.
The potential for cumulative impacts needs to be explored and methods developed to identify and quantify impacts at specific sites.
Increased tourist and ship activity has the potential to cause pollution. Implications for increased pollutant loads in Antarctic ecosystems need to be addressed and acceptable levels of pollutants need to be identified.
The introduction of exotic pests and/or diseases due to tourist activities has the potential to considerably affect Antarctic ecosystems. Work needs to be done to assess introductions that may occur and that have already occurred, and the impacts of these introductions.