In addition to national antarctic programs conducted by parties to the Antarctic Treaty, non-government expeditions (primarily tourist ships) visit Antarctica on a regular basis. While commercial Antarctic tourism dates back to the late 1960s, there has been rapid growth since the late 1980s. This has led to a wide range of tourist and adventure activities.

Tourism has allowed many people who might not otherwise have the opportunity, to experience the wonders, and understand the importance, of Antarctica. Their experiences have led to a greater recognition in the wider community of the region’s importance to the world. On the other hand, as more and more people visit the southern regions, careful management is required to avoid wildlife disturbance, vegetation trampling, introduction of non-native species, and pollution.