A member organization founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice
of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic.

Latest News

IAATO welcomes Dr Terry Shaller as Acting Executive Director. IAATO today confirmed the appointment of Dr. Terry Shaller as Acting Executive Director of IAATO.
Mark van der Hulst, Chair of IAATO's Executive Committee, said, "Terry will lead the Secretariat and work with the Executive Committee to further IAATO's mission to advocate and promote safe, environmentally responsible private-sector travel to Antarctica. Read more

IAATO Welcomes New Members into Responsible Antarctic Tourism Fold
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has welcomed ten new members into the responsible tourism fold. Read more.

International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators Announces New Restrictions on Commercial Drone Use by Visitors

The constraints, voted in at IAATO's annual meeting in Cape Town, South Africa (April 30 – May 3), mean those using Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for commercial purposes on IAATO vessels will have new restrictions limiting piloting opportunities. Read more.

World Environment Day | Antarctica Tour Operators Pledge to Turn Tide on Plastics with New Waste-Reduction Guidelines

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has pledged to turn the tide on plastics with new guidelines set to reduce single-use plastic use among visitors to the white continent. Read more.

Busiest Day of the Year for Antarctic Tour Operators as IAATO Ship Scheduler Opens
The Antarctic travel season may still be months away, but responsible Antarctic tour operators from across the globe will experience their busiest day of the year today (June 5) as the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators' (IAATO) Ship Scheduler opens. Read more

Antarctica Tour Operators Redevelop Ship Scheduler Process to Prepare for Tourism Growth

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) is redeveloping its ship scheduling process, as part of its commitment to ‘leave only footprints' through the effective self-management of guest activities. Read more

IAATO Introduces new measures to manage for tourism growth

IAATO has closed its annual meeting in Cape Town with multiple new measures in support of its mission for safe, environmentally responsible Antarctic travel. Read more.

Antarctic Tour Operators Introduce Mandatory Measures to Prevent Whale Strikes
IAATO members vote in mandatory measures to prevent whale strikes in cetacean-rich Antarctic waters. Read more

Experts gather at Antarctic tour operator annual meeting in Cape Town

IAATO today welcomed stakeholders from the Antarctic community with a vested interested in the responsible management of human activity on and around the white desert. Read more.

IAATO vessels help solve killer whale mystery

Photographs taken aboard IAATO vessels since the 1990s have supported research which, this year, has brought scientists face-to-face with a mysterious and potentially new species of killer whale, the ‘Type D' killer whale, found in sub-Antarctic waters. Read more or watch a film of these amazing animals. Photo P. Tixier/NOAA


Antarctic Organisations Launch Fellowships and Scholarship Opportunities
We have joined forces with COMNAP to launch Antarctic-related fellowships for early-career researchers. This year, COMNAP and IAATO will each offer one fellowship with funding of up to USD $15,000. These fellowships will enable early-career persons to join a project team from another country, opening up new opportunities and creating long-lasting partnerships.  The deadline for the COMNAP and IAATO fellowship applications is 10 June 2019. Read more.

Blog | Tracking Antarctica's Whales
Whale populations are booming in Antarctica, for now. This is the best news ever, and for those of us who make the annual trek to work ‘on the ice', seeing more and more whales each year is heartening, writes Ted Cheeseman, co-founder, and CEO of HappyWhale. Continue reading.

Blog | Antarctica, are you ready for your close-up?
Antarctica poses numerous challenges for the professional and the point-and-click photographer alike; whether it's working within rules set to safeguard the environment, protecting your equipment, changeable weather, and lighting or simply the overwhelming urge to take photos of absolutely everything 900 times for fear you'll miss out. With that in mind, we've asked award-winning photographer and polar photography expert Paul Teolis, for his top tips for capturing those memories on camera...

Blog | Don't Hug the Penguins, and Other Rules in Antarctica...
Going to Antarctica is a privilege, not a right, and thanks to the extraordinarily successful intergovernmental agreement that is the Antarctic Treaty, all human activity there is regulated by strict rules which protect the white desert and its wildlife. Here are a few things to think about before you head to the wildest place on Earth.

HappyWhale Joins Forces With IWC-SORP to Create Whale ID How-To Guide
HappyWhale has joined forces with the International Whaling Commission's Southern Ocean Research Partnership (IWC-SORP) to create a how-to guide for photographing identification features for Right, Fin, Sei, Humpback, Blue and Killer whales. Find yours here.

Blog | Antarctic Visitors - Friends or Foe?

With frequent reports in the news about changing polar environments, IAATO welcomes questions about the possible impact of polar tourism. It's something we think about daily as we continue to work towards our mission of safe, environmentally responsible travel.

Read our latest thoughts in response to a recent enquiry from one of IAATO's Facebook followers. 


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Polar Field Staff Conference September 22 – 25, 2019

IAATO and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) will deliver their third joint Polar Field Staff Conference from September 22 to September 25. The conference gathers guides, expedition leaders and operations managers working for both polar trade associations to support their shared mission of advocating and promoting safe and environmentally responsible polar travel. The three-day event will take place in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, USA.
More information about the program will be shared with AECO and IAATO members in due course.


Travelling to Antarctica?

Download the free new IAATO app Polar Guide: Antarctica for iOS and Android!

Before you leave home, the company you are travelling with will send you important information about your obligations for visiting Antarctica safely and responsibly. You can also view IAATO's briefing films, with subtitles in several different languages, and our FAQ page. Visiting the white continent is an extraordinary and special experience; we all have a role to play in protecting it for future generations. Have an incredible journey!


What Does IAATO Do?

The future protection of Antarctica from the impacts of human activity requires collaboration on a global scale. To promote effective visitor management, IAATO annually shares detailed information on its activities with Antarctic Treaty Parties and works collaboratively with scientific institutions, particularly on long-term environmental monitoring and citizen-science systematic observations. Find out more about our work by reading our fact sheet.