The Australian Government recognises the legitimacy of tourism activities in Antarctica provided they further the principles and objectives of the Antarctic Treaty and their conduct is ecologically sustainable and socially responsible.

Activities that further the Antarctic Treaty are those that are undertaken in accordance with the Antarctic Treaty and its associated instruments.

Tourism in Antarctica will be considered ecologically sustainable if it is assessed in accordance with the Madrid Protocol as having no more than a minor or transitory impact on the Antarctic environment and the intrinsic values of Antarctica.

Socially responsible activities are activities that:

  1. are of a peaceful nature
  2. do not degrade, or pose a substantial risk to, areas of biological, scientific, historic, aesthetic or wilderness significance
  3. will not detrimentally affect any other activity in the Antarctic Treaty area, in particular scientific research activities and their associated support activities
  4. have the capacity to respond promptly and effectively to accidents and emergencies.


To implement this policy Australia will work to develop within the Antarctic Treaty system:

  • an accreditation scheme to encourage adherence to voluntary guidelines and codes of behaviour by all tourist expeditions

  • an environmental monitoring framework capable of identifying both short-term and cumulative impacts arising from tourism activities

  • activity guidelines addressing environmental and safety issues which will assist in the planning and conduct of activities commonly undertaken by tourists to ensure that such activities have no more than a minor or transitory environmental impact and are conducted in a safe and responsible manner

  • a site management system incorporating site-specific guidelines to identify and put in place management controls for sites identified as being at risk

  • an Antarctic shipping code for consideration by the International Maritime Organisation to encourage appropriate environmental and safety standards for commercial shipping in the Antarctic Treaty area

  • a co-ordinated inspection/observer scheme to audit compliance with regulatory and voluntary measures governing tourism activities

  • effective quarantine procedures to prevent the introduction and spread of exotic species in the Antarctic environment

  • a database on tourism activities to assist in the management of these activities

  • a financial security system that requires all tourism activities to carry adequate insurance, provide a bond, or otherwise indemnify or reimburse others against the cost of support provided in the event of accidents or an emergency.