Spa Business issue 4 2019

Page 52


POLE POSITION With today’s travellers prioritising ‘extraordinary experiences’, luxury operators are setting their sights on the Arctic and Antarctic. But what role do spas have to play? Leisure and tourism advisor Ben Martin takes a closer look


re you feeling the ‘pull to the Poles’? If so, you’re in good company. Around 10 million tourists travelled north of the 66th parallel last year to visit Greenland, Alaska and the Arctic regions of Scandinavia and Canada, and this number has been increasing steadily. Heading to the Antarctic is altogether more time consuming, costly and challenging but in order of 45,000 visitors take the ‘penguin pilgrimage’ each year and this number is also rising. These trips can be pricey, with a sevenday visit to South Pole setting you back around US$50,000 (€45,510, £40,790). The weather is unpredictable, accommodation options are decidedly limited, and trips

often take us slightly outside our comfort zone – but maybe that’s what we’re looking for these days. Having explored the smorgasbord of coastal beach resorts on offer today and ticked-off our fair share of must-see cities on weekend breaks, more of us are looking to ‘experience the extraordinary’ and, if we’re honest, the likes of David Attenborough and National Geographic also bear some responsibility in the growing interest in remote locations.

Handful of trailblazers Iceland, which sits a few degrees outside the Arctic Circle, but still epitomises polar tourism, is one of the countries leading the way. Tourism numbers have quadrupled in the last decade to reach 2.3 million in 2018 as guests from all over the world



Sheldon Chalet is located on a rocky outcrop in the interior wilderness of Alaska

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