Joining the Antarctic Community; EYOS Expeditions becomes a full member of IAATO

EYOS Expeditions, already a member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Tour Operators. recently became a full member of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators during IAATO’s Annual General Meeting in Hobart, Tasmania. EYOS Expeditions is very keen to make an active contribution to the Association and we immediately volunteered to join the marine committee. With our experience with smaller privately owned vessels, EYOS looks forward to making an active contribution to the committee, the majority of whom come from a large vessel/commercial expedition context.

More information about IAATO: 

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators is a member trade association founded in 1991 that represents Antarctic tour operators and others organizing and conducting travel to Antarctica to the Antarctic Treaty Parties, the international conservation community and the public at large. Originally founded by seven private tour operators who wished to join together to practice and promote the highest possible standards of travel in this remote, wild and delicate region of the world, IAATO’s membership is today comprised of more than 100 respected companies from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People’s Republic of China, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States and the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).

Members have established extensive procedures and guidelines that ensure appropriate, safe and environmentally-sound private-sector travel to the Antarctic, including regulations and restrictions on numbers of people ashore and minimum staff-to-passenger ratios; development of site-specific, activity and wildlife watching guidelines; and requirements for pre- and post-visit activity reporting; passenger, crew and staff briefings; previous Antarctic experience for tour staff, ship’s command and Bridge officers; contingency planning; emergency medical evacuation plans; and more.

IAATO is an industry group that has resolved to set the highest possible tourism operating standards in its effort to protect Antarctica. This effort is unique, and the challenge to maintain environmentally responsible tourism exists to this extent in no other region of the world.

IAATO has set the global precedent of best practice self-regulation in this extraordinary region — a “natural reserve dedicated to peace and science” under the Antarctic Treaty. Our agreed best practices demonstrate that environmentally responsible tourism is possible in remote and fragile wilderness areas. But more than “just possible,” tourism is and should continue to be a driving force in Antarctic conservation. Firsthand travel experiences foster a better understanding of a destination where no indigenous population exists to speak for itself. Visitors return home as ambassadors of goodwill, guardianship and peace.IAATO’s focus on protection, management and education promotes a greater worldwide understanding and protection of the Antarctic with the goal of leaving it as pristine and majestic for future generations as it is today.