China’s first commercial flight recently brought 22 Chinese tourists to Antarctica. After the United States, Chinese tourists are now the second largest national group of tourists to Antarctica each year. The Chinese commercial flights has been described by Chinese tour operators as a significant milestone as Chinese tourists no longer need to go through foreign agencies to get to Antarctica.
Dr Nengye Liu was interviewed by BBC World News on this highly symbolic event. As explained by Dr Liu, the commercial flight is consistent with the bigger picture of China becoming increasingly involved in Antarctic affairs. Moreover, China now has clearly stated that the Polar Regions is a Strategic New Frontier. According to Dr Liu, China’s ambition is to eventually put forward its own proposals to influence how the Antarctic will be governed.