updated 1/18/2007 2:22:00 PM ET 2007-01-18T19:22:00

Newly wealthy Chinese who have been there and done that and are in search of a new experience have been warned to keep clear of the South Pole, state media said on Thursday.

As a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty and its environmental protection agreements, China had to take into account the delicate balance of nature at the South Pole, the official Xinhua news agency said.

“The politics are sensitive in Antarctica, the natural conditions harsh and ecology fragile, so we are not currently considering opening up the area for tourists,” it said, citing government officials.

“It is inadvisable for domestic companies or groups to organize Antarctic tourism without authorization until such time as it becomes an approved tourist destination,” Xinhua added.

But some determined Chinese tourists had been paying up to 100,000 yuan ($12,900) to tack an Antarctic jaunt on to a trip to South America, the report said.

“There are no guarantees about protecting the safety and legitimate rights of tourists. Citizens signing up for ’South Pole travel’ should be cautious,” Xinhua added.

Slideshow: On the Silk Road In June, polar scientists warned that a boom in tourism to Antarctica was putting pressure on the world’s last great wilderness and must be carefully managed, noting that tourism had quadrupled in the past eight years.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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