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Antarctica tourist numbers rose 9% in 2013/14 season

Antarctica tourist numbers rose 9% in 2013/14 season

Antarctica visitors totaled 37,405 during the 2013/14 season, an increase of 9%, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators.

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.

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