AECO gave a presentation at an Arctic Council workshop in Ottawa, Canada arranged by the Arctic Council PAME-workgroup (the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Workgroup) on 19th March.
The workshop was a success in a number of ways:
– many Canadian authorities have become more aware of the difficult permitting situation Arctic expedition cruise operators face in the Canadian Arctic, which was not the case just a few years ago.
– the workshop was the first event in Canada that specifically addressed the subject of Arctic cruise tourism here. In addition, the number of relevant stakeholders was impressive, as both regulators, government agencies, and tour operators were represented – among others the AECO-members such as Lindblad Expeditions, Quark Expeditions and One Ocean Expeditions.
– one of the outcomes of the workshop will probably be an Arctic Council statement of support for ‘environmentally, socially and economically sustainable tourism’.
– at the workshop AECO and other workshop-speakers managed to debunk a number of myths in regard to the supposedly ‘large increase’ in Arctic cruise tourism. The PAME working group-representatives are going to share their knowledge on the state of affairs in regard to arctic expedition cruise tourism with the ministers of the Arctic Council.
The workshop was an initiative taken by Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship regarding the theme ‘Safe Arctic Shipping’. The aim of the workshop was to bring together a diverse range of people to discuss emerging trends, impacts, and oversight of marine tourism throughout the Arctic Region and to engage in open and constructive discussion on aspects of Arctic marine tourism that fall outside the IMO’s responsibility or that the Organization has left unaddressed. The Arctic Council workgroup intend to use the results of the workshop–discussions to develop a ‘best practice’ document (or equivalent) related to Arctic Marine Tourism.