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Tourist/photograther with Imperial Shags (Phalaracrocorax atriceps), Antarctic Peninsular
The most visited part of Antarctica is the Antarctic Peninsular, opposite South America. The Antarctic Treaty provides guidelines, which have to be followed by tourists and expedition organizers. Tourist operators with small and medium size vessels active in Antarctica are usually members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), which has given itself more detailed guidelines, e.g. for watching and approaching wildlife. The number of tourists visiting Antarctica increased steadily since the 1950s and reached 46,000 in 2007/08, dropping slightly in recent years. The very exclusive opportunities of being close to wildlife and experiencing breathtaking landscapes lead to a high potential that Antarctic visitors get encouraged to support nature conservation, a potential the project "Linking Tourism & Conservation" intends to use and increase.