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Up to 325% more young Australians visiting Antarctica in 2018

Posted: 21 August 2017 5:35 pm

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It's getting harder to find spots off the beaten path.

Antarctica is on track to be one of 2018s hottest destinations. Proverbially speaking.

This is especially true for Australian travellers, who already made up an outsized 10% of Antarctic visitors in 2016-2017, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). According to current booking data, this is set to explode in the 2017-2018 season, especially among younger and Australian travellers.

One provider Intrepid Travel has seen a 101% increase in Aussie bookings for 2017-2018 compared to the year before, with travellers aged 20-29 in particular making 325% more bookings this year than just 12 months ago.

Why is Antarctica suddenly so popular?

The general shrinking of Antarctica as a result of climate change might be turning it into much bigger destination.

Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton speculates that a combination of natural wanderlust and climate anxiety is bringing in travellers who want to get there before it's too late.

"Young travellers want to get off the beaten track and that is becoming increasingly difficult as the world becomes more connected," he said. "Antarctica is one of the few remote regions of the world that is [still] relatively untouched... The effects of climate change are also driving interest in the region, with younger, socially-conscious travellers wanting to experience this part of the world and see this last remaining, untouched frontier first-hand."

Why are Australians so keen on Antarctica?

It's not yet known how many Australians will visit the south pole in the coming year, relative to other nationalities, but during the 2016-2017 season it was the third most common nationality to make the trip, behind USA and China and just ahead of Germany. Ten years ago it was the fourth most common, making up 7.9% of travellers after USA, the UK and Germany.

The popularity among Australians probably isn't down to proximity. In fact, most Australians and New Zealanders still tend to go all the way to Argentina and sail to the Antarctic Peninsula rather than the Ross Sea, so counter-intuitively Antarctica is easier to reach from the USA than from Australia.

Instead, it might simply be because Australians love to travel and Antarctica is a literally and proverbially cool place to be in 2018.

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