Press enter to search

News09 July 2024, 1300 UTC

International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators Welcomes New Members

A/S Dan Bunkering, B&M Maritima, Farers International, JR Williams Montevideo, Kovacic Services Corporation and Ocean Nova Expeditions have been welcomed into the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) as Associate members.

New member Peace Boat has been granted Provisional Operator status with the association, and existing Provisional Operators, Azamara, Tecla Sailing and Viking will begin the 2024-25 season as full IAATO Operators.

Laura Smith, Chair of IAATO’s Membership Committee, said: “Membership to IAATO is no small commitment. The standards set are high and being a member comes with an enduring obligation to uphold Antarctic Treaty and IAATO protocols.”

There are two categories of IAATO membership: Operators and Associates. Operators (and Provisional Operators) are companies that operate directly in Antarctica and organise their own travel programmes, while Associates are travel agents or other companies that book their customers into Operator member’s Antarctic programs. Associates may also be companies or individuals interested in supporting Antarctic Treaty and IAATO objectives. These include port agents/ship agencies, tourism bureaus/tourist boards, expedition management service providers, conservation organisations and product/service providers.

As a condition of membership, all Operators and Provisional Operators commit to obtaining the relevant permits/authorisations from their national competent authority to operate in Antarctica.

All new applications are thoroughly reviewed by the association’s dedicated membership committee before recommendations are made to the membership. Associate members may be determined through an intersessional vote. Provisional Operators and those moving up to Operator status must present themselves to IAATO’s membership at the association’s annual meeting and answer questions before their application is voted on.

All new Provisional Operators, as part of the application process, are required to carry an IAATO observer on board to review their operations in the field. For yachts, this is a dockside observation. These observations not only provide a forum for feedback but offer a further opportunity for the membership to make sure that Antarctic Treaty protocols and IAATO’s robust operational procedures are upheld in practice.

John McKeon, Chair of the IAATO Executive Committee

John McKeon, Chair of the IAATO Executive Committee, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see new companies joining IAATO, affirming their commitment to Antarctic stewardship.

“We look forward to working with them in preparation for the season ahead.”

The newest members bring IAATO’s membership to 114, comprising 47 operators, five provisional operators, 55 associate members and seven non-profit Associate members.

Back to Newsroom

Join the conversation