Preparing for Antarctica: A Report from the IAATO Field Staff Conference

EYOS Expeditions is a proud member of IAATO, which advocates and promotes the practice 
of safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic. Recently, IAATO collaborated with AECO to host its first ever Field Staff Conference that focused on the future of polar tourism and promoted best practice out in the field.

EYOS Expedition Leader Graham Charles was an active contributor, delivering presentations on leadership and risk analysis. He recently shared a brief synopsis of the conference and what goes on behind the scenes as we prepare for the upcoming season:

“This year’s conference was based around ‘education’- focusing on taking the industry into the future and setting up future generations to do things better. A wide representation of staff from around the world came together to discuss what challenges we face, what is working well and what we can start to do for the future. It was a fantastic forum and the energy, passion and enthusiasm was palpable.

We spent the first day focused on Operational Procedures. IAATO circulated a survey asking people for their three ‘hot topics’ in the coming years. Not surprisingly, this sparked some lively debate and illuminating round-table discussions about what tangible steps we might take to resolve some of the issues.

The second day was spent almost exclusively tackling Safety and Risk Management. For an industry that has many individual members and different styles of operation, there was a good deal of discussion and debate about how to best develop standard qualifications for expedition staff.

The last day focused on Communication and Best Guiding Practice. Particularly relevant was a discussion on how to incorporate science into our programs and add value to our guests, who become the next generation of polar advocates.”

EYOS would like to thank Graham for his remarks at the conference, and IAATO and AECO for organizing this useful conference. The Polar community is a small one, and it is heartening to see a wide range of companies and operators coming together to jointly promote the highest standards of safety and stewardship in Antarctica and the Arctic.