chapter  13
11 Pages

Images of Antarctica and Ushuaia (Argentina) as a Gateway Port: Antarctic Visitors and their Expectations –

ByMARISOL VEREDA

Introduction Antarctic sea-borne tourism has shown substantial increase in recent years as shown by the different types of product offers (themes and activities) that appear in trip programmes, the various ships that make the voyages, and an increase in the total number of passengers transported to the Antarctic Peninsula and Ross Sea (including large cruise ships whose passengers did not land) (see chapter 1). Most of the Antarctic cruise companies take Ushuaia in Argentina as the base port for Antarctic maritime tourism operations because of its infrastructure (port and airport) and convenient location (1,000 km from the Antarctic Peninsula); the latter plays an important role in the schedule of the companies that operate in Antarctica throughout the season, since it allows them to cross the Mar de Hoces or Drake Passage in less time, enabling addition of another voyage by the end of the season. It is estimated that in recent years approximately 90% of the cruise passengers to Antarctica passed through the port of Ushuaia (Instituto Fueguino de Turismo [INFUETUR] 2006).