This paper analyses the main strengths and weaknesses of self-regulation in the Antarctic tourism sector. Ostrom's theory of collective action and especially the design principles for robust management of common pool resources provide the framework for this analysis. The paper notes the rapid growth and diversification of tourism in Antarctica over the past two decades. It examines why formal tourism legislation has been limited because of the complex governance structure in Antarctica. It describes the self-regulation of tourism management that occurs through the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). The success of IAATO is attributed to the high degree of organisation in the sector, largely because of the perceived benefits of membership. Continued incentives for self-organisation are needed but changing circumstances may lead tour operators to believe that IAATO membership is no longer advantageous. The paper shows that, under current conditions, the Antarctic tourism self-regulatory regime is a robust institution. However, with increasing numbers of tourists and operators the institutional structure may be weakened in the future.
Haasse, D., Lamers, M., & Amelung, B. (2009). Heading into uncharted territory? Exploring the institutional robustness of self-regulation in the Antarctic tourism sector. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 17(4), 411-430. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669580802495717