BEIJING – Chile welcomes Chinese tourists to visit Antarctica via the South American country, considered the best gateway to Antarctica, the ambassador of Chile to China has said.
Jaime Chomali made the remarks at a tourism promotion event on Antarctica held in Beijing to boost cooperation in tourism between the two countries.
“Chile is committed to environmentally sustainable tourism to the white continent. We need to help preserve this great and marvelous piece of the world for future generations,” said Chomali.
Chomali said he hoped the event would familiarize Chinese companies with Chile and Antarctica, the state-run Xinhua reported on Saturday.
Chile implemented a visa-free policy in 2015 for Chinese citizens who have previously been issued a U.S. or Canadian visa. The policy has boosted Chinese tourism to the South American country.
China is the second-largest source of tourists to Antarctica, following only the United States. However, growth in tourism in recent years has brought pressure to the continent’s environment.
In February, China’s State Oceanic Administration published a regulation to better protect the region’s environment and ecosystem, as well as to ensure safe and orderly development of China’s activities in Antarctica, including tourism.
The Chilean tourism industry has also highlighted the importance of the environment in Antarctica.
Participants of the promotional event included ANTARCTICA XXI, a company dedicated to air and cruise trips in Antarctica.
Juan Cristobal, account director of the Chilean company, said energy recycling technology is used in its cruises to minimize their impact on the local environment.
Alex Liu, marketing manager of the company in Asia, said the company emphasizes educating tourists during group tours and includes experts on Antarctica in its expedition programs.
Liu believes China’s regulation will enhance the environmental awareness of Chinese tourists and travel agencies.