Arctic expedition cruising is more popular than ever. New vessels, technology, operators and customer groups will shape the sector’s development in the years to come. This week, major operators and other stakeholders gather in Oslo to discuss how the industry should manage growth.
On October 18, the Association of Arctic Expeditions Cruise Operators (AECO) organizes its 14th Annual Arctic Cruise Conference. The conference will give an overview of current developments and trends, and is also an opportunity to discuss what the industry’s future looks like.
“We see that there is a greater interest for Arctic destinations, and many visitors choose expedition cruising because it offers unique experiences and a closeness to nature. We expect to see considerable growth over the next couple of years, and it is important that the industry takes the necessary steps to make sure that operations continues to be carried out in a safe and sustainable manner,” says Frigg Jørgensen, AECO’s Executive Director.
AECO is a member association dedicated to managing safe and sustainable Arctic cruise tourism. It represents the majority of Arctic expedition cruise operators, and in an industry poised for growth, more operators are joining the association.
“Our membership has increased by 20 % over the past year. Safety and environmental issues are important both to our members and their passengers, and we’re happy to grant membership to operators and tour providers that are committed to AECO’s principles and guidelines. AECO facilitates coordination and self-regulation within the industry, which will become even more important as this segment grows,” says Jørgensen.
Updates and outlook
More than 25 cruise operators are expected to attend the conference, in addition to representatives from associated industries, authorities and academia.
The conference includes destination updates from Svalbard, Greenland, Canada, Russia, Iceland and Antarctica. AECO will also present statistics for the 2017 season and unveil passenger number estimates for upcoming seasons. This year’s program also offers presentations of Polar Code implementation, and Law of the sea and Arctic cruising.
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