Big cruise ship in the Antarctic waters. Photo: iStock

China has become the second largest source of Antarctic tourists, next to the United States, reported. In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the continent has increased by nearly 40 times to 3,944 people in 2016, from just 100 people in 2008.

Li Meiye, an ardent traveler who has just returned from the Antarctic, said most trips to this region cost more than 100,000 yuan (US$15,945 dollars) for two weeks. Thus, when Li saw a special rate which only cost 50,000 yuan on Fliggy — the travel services platform owned by Alibaba — she bought in without hesitation.

The average price of an Antarctic trip ranges from 100,000 to 200,000 yuan. Some tours also include a direct flight to the Antarctic point, while luxury cruises are priced at more than 300,000 yuan.

In comparison, Arctic trips are far more affordable, as most routes charge around 20,000 to 30,000 yuan. In Finland, Norway and Iceland, the number of Chinese tourists these Arctic countries have received, is increasing by 50% to 100% annually, according to the report.