Steadily growing tourism is beginning to have an adverse impact in Antarctica. This year, nearly 30,000 visitors are expected to make the trek to the southernmost continent, four times the figure just ten years ago.
A conference to be held by Great Britain will examine the environmental consequences of the increasingly popular Antarctic cruises. Early this year, the Golden Princess, a palatial cruise boat weighing 120.000 tons and housing 3,700 passengers, five pools, a casino and a golf course, made its mark as the largest ship to travel the region. Doctor John Shears of the British Antarctic Survey said, "These ships burn combustibles while navigating the Antarctic, adding emissions that contribute to global warming. The Antarctic is a region that is sensitive to global warming. Its temperature has increased three degrees Celsius in the last 30 years, the consequence of which as been glacial melt and collapse of the ice platform." The Santiago Times