IAATO cited increases across all sectors but the most growth, 16%, was in air-cruise combinations, accounting for 5% of visitors. In this case, travelers were flown to the South Shetland Islands to join a cruise that makes landings on the Antarctic peninsula.
In line with global tourism trends, the number of Chinese visitors increased, to make up 9% of the total. That compares to just 0.2% of Antarctica travelers 10 years earlier, in the 2003/04 season.
China moved ahead of Germany and the UK to sit behind the US and Australia, which make up 33% and 11% of visitors, respectively.
Visitation levels have been increasing modestly since the 2011/12 season but are still considerably under than the peak of 46,265 during the 2007/08 austral summer.
IAATO estimates 36,545 tourists will travel with the association's member companies to Antarctica in the 2014/15 season.