AECO launches Arctic Field Staff Online Assessment

January 8th, 2018

The online assessment gives AECO-affiliated guides and expedition leaders the opportunity to test their knowledge of relevant Arctic regulations and AECO’s guidelines.

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators’ (AECO’s) new Field Staff Online Assessment is part of the trade organization’s efforts to manage responsible and sustainable tourism in the Arctic. Field staff are among the industry’s most important decision makers. Good decisions rely on knowledge and competence. The Field Staff Online Assessment has been developed to ensure that field staff have the necessary knowledge in relevant regulations and AECO’s many guidelines.

“We are extremely proud to take the Arctic expedition cruise industry and the AECO field staff to a new level of responsibility,” says AECO’s Executive Director Frigg Jørgensen. “This is not a result of legal or governmental requirements; it is an initiative driven by our members – responsible operators with the objective to ensure sustainable and considerate tourism.”

The assessment is an online multiple-choice test based on a pool of questions developed by a group of experts. There are various tests to choose from, and each test includes 60-80 randomly chosen questions from the pool. The regulatory framework is complex and large, and AECO itself has developed more than 30 guidelines, that are mandatory for AECO members. During the test, field staff may look up the answers. “Field staff are not expected to know everything by heart, but they should know where to find the answers quickly” says Jørgensen.

To pass the assessment, 80% correct answers are required, and a certificate of achievement will be issued and serve as a documentation of skills.


From voluntary to mandatory for AECO members

For the 2018 Arctic cruise season, AECO is strongly encouraging all members to ask their field staff to take the assessment. “We see the 2018 season as a trial run, but fully expect that the Field Staff Online Assessment will be mandatory for all AECO members’ Arctic field staffs in the future,” says Jørgensen.

Members of AECO have free access to the online assessment, but the test is also available to other interested, who may contact AECO for details.


AECO – Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators

Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators is an international organization for expedition cruise operators and associates in the Arctic, dedicated to managing environmentally friendly, safe and considerate cruise tourism. With close to 70 international members – included 40 vessel operators, owners and management, and 50 expedition cruise vessels that are organized by the association – AECO represent the great majority of these operations in the Arctic. Website:


Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund

The Field Staff Online Assessment has been developed with the support of the Svalbard Environmental Protection.

The Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund was established in 2001 under the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act. The fund’s resources will be used to initiate and stimulate projects with the purpose of protecting Svalbard’s environment. The fund is financed by dues and allocation, including the environmental fee paid by all visitors to Svalbard.




Frigg Jørgensen, Executive director, AECO – Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, | Cell: +47 913 90 554.
Edda Falk, Communications manager, AECO – Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators | Cell: +47 476 32 550


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Press release in English 

Press release in Norwegian

Press release in Danish