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 Announces Appointment of New Executive Director

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has announced the appointment of Gina Greer as Executive Director. Gina will lead the Secretariat and work with IAATO's Executive Committee to further the association's mission of advocating and promoting safe, environmentally responsible private-sector travel to Antarctica. Find out more about Gina here.

International Women's Day | As with science itself, the role of women in polar sciences has evolved – and we should ensure it continues to do so, writes Glaciologist Evelyn Dowdeswell

Today, being a woman and taking a hands-on approach to research is not the rarity it once was and I am heartened to be joined by increasing numbers of female scientists on polar expeditions with every year that goes by. Read more.

IAATO Joins Polar Partners to Announce Fellowship Opportunities

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have announced opportunities for early-career professionals, including the second IAATO Antarctic Fellowship. Read more.

Blog | Tiny but mighty -why we owe our existence to the phytoplankton

Within  the  crystal aquamarine  waters  of Antarctica   lie   tiny   little   organisms   you cannot see with the naked eye. They are like plants –in that they use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make energy through photosynthesis-yet,  they're  not  plants. They  are  also  not  bacteria,  nor  fungi,  nor animal. They belong to a group of organisms called protists; mysterious otherworldly life thathas  had  millions  of  years  to  evolve. Allison CusickGraduate Student (Ph.D.) Biological Oceanographyshares with us the importance of Phytoplankton to Antarctica and the world.

Blog | We are Slowing Down for Whales – Here's Why

With cetaceans making a comeback after centuries of whaling, IAATO members are implementing a raft of measures – from speed restrictions to additional whale-lookouts to protect and support their return, Dr Annette Bombosch explains.

IAATO launches search for new Executive Director

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has launched its search for an Executive Director to lead the organization in its mission of promoting safe, environmentally responsible Antarctic Travel. Read more

Blog | Treaty 60 - What the Antarctic Treaty means to IAATO and the world

For those of us in the IAATO community, this month - specifically December 1 - holds a very special meaning, as the anniversary of the institution of the Antarctic Treaty. Antarctica Day, as December 1 is known, is intended to build global awareness of this landmark agreement, which this year celebrates 60 years of unique international collaboration. Find out how we play our part. [six-minute read]

IAATO statement regarding change of One Ocean Expeditions' status to ‘member not in good standing'

The company remains an IAATO member, but as a result of non-payment of dues and fees, is currently a member of IAATO ‘not in good standing'. Read more

Polar Expedition Experts Descend on Sturbridge, Massachusetts for International Field Guide Conference
Polar field guides are descending on Sturbridge, Massachusetts today for the third bi-annual International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) joint Polar Field Staff Conference. Read more.

2019 IAATO Antarctic Fellows Announced 

IAATO and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP) have announced the recipients of the inaugral IAATO Antarctic Fellowship. The two fellows are Martina Mascioni from the University of La Plata, Argentina, and Daniela Cajiao Vargas from the Autonomous University of Madrid. The fellowships will enable both recipients, who are working towards their PhDs, to train with a project team at a research institute in another Antarctic Treaty country. 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.

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.

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

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.

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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COVID-19 and responsible travel to Antarctica

From the first emergence of COVID-19 in China, IAATO Members have been clear in their priorities; the wellbeing of visitors to and returning from Antarctica and the protection of the region's wildlife. 

All vessels scheduled to depart for the peninsula and/or the sub-Antarctic islands have ceased, or been postponed due to new regulations imposed at Antarctic Gateways.

Travelling to Antarctica?

Download the free 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.