What are the real environmental impacts of Antarctic tourism? Unveiling their importance through a comprehensive meta-analysis

P. Tejedo, J. Benayas, D. Cajiao, Y. F. Leung, D. De Filippo, D. Liggett

    Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículo de revisiónrevisión exhaustiva

    22 Citas (Scopus)


    Human activities in Antarctica were increasing before the COVID-19 pandemic, and tourism was not an exception. The growth and diversification of Antarctic tourism over the last few decades have been extensively studied. However, environmental impacts associated with this activity have received less attention despite an increasing body of scholarship examining environmental issues related to Antarctic tourism. Aside from raising important research questions, the potential negative effects of tourist visits in Antarctica are also an issue discussed by Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties. This study presents the results of a meta-analysis of scholarly publications that synthesizes and updates our current knowledge of environmental impacts resulting from Antarctic tourism. A first publication database containing 233 records that focussed on this topic was compiled and subjected to a general bibliometric and content analysis. Further, an in-depth content analysis was performed on a subset of 75 records, which were focussed on showing specific research on Antarctic tourism impacts. The main topic, methods, management proposals, and research gaps highlighted by the respective authors of these 75 publications were assessed. The range of research topics addressed, the methods used – including the application of established research designs from the field of environmental impact assessment –, and the conclusions reached by the study authors are discussed. Interestingly, almost one third of the studies did not detect a direct relationship between tourism and significant negative effects on the environment. Cumulative impacts of tourism have received little attention, and long-term and comprehensive monitoring programs have been discussed only rarely, leading us to assume that such long-term programs are scarce. More importantly, connections between research and policy or management do not always exist. This analysis highlights the need for a comprehensive strategy to investigate and monitor the environmental impacts of tourism in Antarctica. A first specific research and monitoring programme to stimulate a debate among members of the Antarctic scientific and policy communities is proposed, with the ultimate goal of advancing the regulation and management of Antarctic tourism collaboratively.

    Idioma originalInglés
    Número de artículo114634
    PublicaciónJournal of Environmental Management
    EstadoPublicada - 15 abr. 2022


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