Should tourists go to Antarctica? 你想去南極旅遊嗎?


Vocabulary: tourism 詞匯: 旅遊業

Image caption Antarctica is a place of breath-taking views

Where should an adventurous tourist go? After you've done sightseeing in London, shopping in New York, savoured the local food in Paris, and danced to your heart's content at the Brazilian carnival, where else can you go? What exotic tourist destination awaits you?

Well, Antarctica sounds like the holiday of a lifetime! It's considered the last great wilderness on Earth. Just a few scientists in research stations share the icy landscape with penguins and other animals which can cope with the low temperatures.

Tourism began in Antarctica in the 1950s and it's still small scale. About 37,000 tourists are expected there this season, but many won't even leave the boat.

The BBC's Juliet Rix visited the frozen continent and asked herself if she should be there at all, causing potential problems to such a sensitive environment. Her tour guide admitted that all visitors leave a footprint and they all go to the same places, the accessible coastline, which is also where the penguins and seals go to breed.

But some people believe that if carefully controlled, tourism can be good for Antarctica. It has no native population and it needs advocates. Visitors to the icy continent might be ready to support and even to fund its preservation. And they're likely to engage in the discussion about global warming, which has led to the melting of glaciers.

According to Rix, guidelines are followed when you're about to set foot in Antarctica and tourists have to disinfect their boots to make sure no alien species are introduced.

And once on land, there's no eating or smoking. Rocks, bone fragments - nothing should be taken as a souvenir and nothing should be left behind.

Tourists fortunate enough to visit the Antarctic must be aware that this is not their home and keep their fingers crossed that future generations will also be able to enjoy such breathtaking views.