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

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.

Polar Expedition Leaders Gather for Responsible Tourism Conference

They may be literally poles apart, but more than 80 Antarctic and Arctic expedition guides will gather together later this month for a joint conference on responsible polar tourism.
The conference, held in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, US from September 22 to 25, is the third bi-annual joint conference of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO). This year's theme focuses on responsible field leadership. 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.

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.

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.

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


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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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.