Visitor Policy & Risk Awareness
The aim of Government is to manage tourism in a manner that has minimum impact on the South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) environment but optimises the income to the Territory and contributes to the overall regional management of commercial tourism.
In the region of 10000 people visit South Georgia annually. The principle objective of the tourism management policy is to enable visitor access to SGSSI, whilst ensuring the continued protection of the island’s unique environment, including its flora, fauna and cultural heritage. This is achieved through the management of visitor landings so that authorised visitors continue to have access to approved landing sites in a safe and regulated manner, whilst minimising any potential impact.
All travel has inherent risks, but travel to South Georgia carries a greater level of risk than to many, more traditional, destinations.
There are no medical facilities for visitors. In an emergency, there is a possibility of accessing the limited medical facilities at King Edward Point. But this is not available elsewhere on the Island (nor should it be relied upon).
There is no search and rescue, or other emergency service on the Island. All visiting vessels must therefore be self sufficient in every respect, including the provision of medical cover.
There is no independent transport from South Georgia to the Falkland Islands or to South America, which are at least three or five days sail away respectively.
Visitors should be aware of the above when considering going to South Georgia. Although the Government requires all visitors (other than authorised Government researchers) to ensure they have vessel-based support throughout their time in South Georgia before issuing visit permits, the grant of a permit does not imply that the Government accepts responsibility for providing any additional support.