There have been stories of Chinese tourists behaving badly overseas and on airplanes; now, they have their sights set on Antarctica.
Some Chinese tourists, described as “eager to touch everything” in Antarctica, are demonstrating “very disappointing behaviour,” said one Chinese news photographer. Some were chasing penguins and charging into their colony, completely disregarding rules to protect the birdsSome were chasing penguins and charging into their colony, completely disregarding rules to protect the birds, he said. A newlywed couple even shooed off several penguins for the perfect photo shoot.
According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), Chinese tourism in Antarctica has grown significantly over the last ten years. In 2004, only 37 people travelled to Antarctica; but by 2014, about 3,328 Chinese arrived on Antarctica’s shores, placing third behind American and Australian tourists.
In addition to having a negative impact on the local habitat and wildlife, China’s Antarctic Great Wall Station on King George Island has been unprepared for the number of visitors. Qu Tanzhou, a director at the station, said: “More and more Chinese tourists are flooding in, and it disrupts our daily work.”
Most online users are infuriated by the tourists’ behavior. “They are so embarrassing. Next stop for them should be Mars,” one wrote.