chapter  1
10 Pages

Setting the Scene: Polar Cruise Tourism in the 21st Century

ByMichael Lück, Patrick T. Maher, Emma J. Stewart

Polar tourism is de¤ned as ‘tourism that occurs in the polar regions’ (Maher et al, in press, p1); however, de¤ning the polar regions is more di§cult and ambiguous. Delineating Antarctica is relatively easy, as Figure 1.1 shows, with land and sea south of 60°S considered Antarctica, as outlined by the Antarctic Treaty System. Subsequently, the sub-Antarctic is land and sea between 60°S and 45°S, including all the islands of the Southern Ocean, and the tip of South America (Maher et al, in press). In contrast, the Arctic and sub-Arctic are much more di§cult to de¤ne. £is can be done by either political boundaries (e.g. the three northern Canadian territories at 60°N, or the Arctic Circle) or by biophysical boundaries, such as the tree line or the July 10°S isotherm (Maher et al, in press). Maher (2007) suggests that because large parts of the Arctic are dependent on the marine environment, a marine delineation of the Arctic would be useful and appropriate. In addition, there are di¢erent terms used interchangeably by di¢erent authorities, such as the ‘High North’, ‘North’, Circumpolar North’ and the ‘Arctic’. £e Arctic Human Development Report de¤nes the Arctic as encompassing:

… all of Alaska, Canada north of 60°N together with northern Québec [Nunavik] and Labrador [Nunatsiavut], all of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland and the northernmost counries of Norway, Sweden and Finland … [in Russia], the Murmansk Oblast, the Nenets, Yamalo-Nenets, Taimyr, and Chukotka autonomous okrugs, Vorkuta City in the Komi Republic, Norilsk and Igsrka in Krasnoyarsky Kray, and those parts of the Sakha Republic whose boundaries lie closest to the Arctic Circle. (Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004, pp17-18)

£e cruise industry has seen phenomenal growth rates over the past few decades. Some sources contend that it is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry (Dowling, 2006; Lück, 2007; CLIA, 2009), with growth rates of up to 1800 per cent since 1970 (CLIA, 2006). Table 1.1 illustrates the growth of the industry for the 25 member cruise lines of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which account for approximately two-thirds of the total market. £us, it is estimated that, overall, close to 20 million people took a cruise in 2009 (R. Klein, pers comm). Despite the fact that the cruise industry accounts for only 0.6 per cent of all hotel beds o¢ered worldwide (Dowling, 2006), it is a signi¤cant player in the tourism industry.