Photo Credit: Photo Credit: MATHILDE BELLENGER/AFP/Getty Images
Cape Town Wants To Become The World's Main Gateway To Antarctica Tourism
As the number of tourists interested in visiting Antarctica continues to increase, Cape Town is positioning itself as the ideal location to visit before venturing to the continent. As a result, Cape Town could potentially become a hub for Antarctica tourism. Cape Town’s Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, shared on Twitter that the initiative would provide opportunities for local businesses and create jobs in the hospitality industry.
To promote Cape Town as the premier gateway to Antarctica, Hill-Lewis launched the Gateway To Antarctica campaign in February. He recently embarked on a day trip from South Africa to the remote continent. The direct flight from Cape Town to the Wolf’s Fang runway in Queen Maud Land takes five hours. It crosses the Southern Ocean during the 24-hour Antarctic daytime. The flight typically operates during the Antarctic summer season, which runs from November to March.
This positioning places Cape Town in a prime economic position to reap the benefits of being an Antarctic gateway city.
Sustainable Tourism In Antarctica
Antarctica tourism is expected to increase due to a growing interest among travelers in remote and untouched destinations. However, concerns about the impact of tourism on the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica have also been raised.
Researchers at bases operated by multiple countries, including South Africa, benefit from shared flights with tourists. This helps to minimize environmental impact and meet logistical needs.
“We want more people to choose our city as their preferred gateway to reach international scientific bases or to experience the continent’s unique sustainable tourism offerings,” Hill-Lewis said at a press conference. “We are launching a new destination marketing campaign with a clear message – Cape Town is the best place to come before you head way down South.”
According to the mayor, “Sustainable tourism holds not only economic and job creation benefits for our city as a gateway but also enhances the viability of scientific research on the continent.” Cape Town is one of five cities on the Southern Ocean’s rim that nearly all supplies and people traveling to or from Antarctica must pass through, along with Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Hobart, Australia; and Christchurch, New Zealand, are the westernmost and easternmost cities, respectively.