Polar Tourism Markets
As a modern industry, polar tourism, and its need for guides/interpreters and auxiliary staff can be broken into five market segments. They are best defined in terms of their primary attractions and the ways those attractions are experienced. This approach to classifying tourist markets explicitly acknowledges some crucial factors: tourist expectations, the service delivery methods used to realize those expectations, the distinct impacts resulting from those activities and the emergent need to guide and provide safety management or interpretation.
- The mass market, comprised of tourists primarily attracted to sightseeing within the bounds of pleasurable surroundings of comfortable transport and accommodations.
- The sportfishing and hunting market, with participants who pursue unique fish and game species within a wilderness setting.
- The ecotourism market, consisting of tourists who seek to observe wildlife species in their natural habitats, and experience the beauty and solitude of natural areas. These tourists are also concerned with conserving the environment and improving the well-being of local people.
- The adventure tourism market, providing a sense of personal achievement and exhilaration from meeting challenges and potential perils of outdoor sport activities.
- The culture and heritage tourism market, a very distinct market comprised of tourists who either want to experience personal interaction with the lives and traditions of native people, learn more about a historical topic that interests them, or personally experience historic places and artifacts.
All eight Arctic nations and their seas and oceans host all five markets (climate change is aiding these markets with easier access to places hitherto impossible) and this creates a very diverse and vibrant tourism industry in the north. Antarctica largely relies on ship tourism and caters to the mass market with only a minor culture/heritage market based around Sth Georgia and its Shackleton and whaling history but this sector has potential for growth as nature sites come under increasing pressure.
The modern challenge of not only environmentally and culturally, but safely and educationally, managing tourism across these vast lands and seas is the new new narrative of the polar tourism industry.