Polar Tour Operators Hold First Antarctic/Arctic Field Guide Conference
The poles are combining forces in Toronto next week at a unique conference for polar field staff organized by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) in collaboration with its sister organization in the Arctic, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).
The conference, which runs from 27-29 September, will provide a lively and interactive forum for sharing knowledge and best practice in polar guiding.
This is the first time that a field staff conference has focused on the challenges facing staff and member operators working in both Antarctica and the Arctic. Around the central mission of practicing safe and environmentally responsible travel in both regions, the agenda will focus on education, operational procedures, safety and risk management, conservation, heritage, communications and science support.
Susan Adie, Chair of IAATO’s Field Operations Committee and Expedition Operations Manager for Toronto based, G Adventures said, ‘Field staff are at the front line of our polar operations so not only are they often the first to identify issues, opportunities and future challenges, but can offer potential solutions to those as well. The outcomes from a conference like this will benefit the industry tremendously across all sectors.’
The series of talks and workshops has also attracted representatives from other organizations who work closely with AECO and IAATO including government agencies, science institutes and conservation organizations such as the WWF, Environment Canada, the Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. IAATO and AECO’s current contributions to citizen science will be presented and future collaborations discussed.
Bill Davis, AECO Executive Committee member and VP Operations for Quark Expeditions said, ‘In addition to covering the day to day opportunities and challenges of running of polar operations, the conference will also focus on how tourism is part of a wider global solution to protecting these great wildernesses for future generations.’