Antarctic tourism is booming – but can the continent cope?

First World Cruises To Call On AntarcticaIn tourist hotspots cruise ships must at times queue to disembark passengers and fragile ecosystems may be at risk from visitors.

Outside a scruffy cabin marked “Souvenirs” at Russia’s Bellingshausen Antarctic research station, tourists and scientists clank up the metal stairs, keen to escape the blizzard.

Out pokes the bearded face of Denis Ianenkov, a drilling engineer with the Russian Antarctic programme – and part-time shopkeeper – to invite his next cohort of customers into a tiny room with flags pinned to every wall.

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