62 participants representing 38 member organizations attended AECO’s digital Annual General Meeting, held on Wednesday October 20. While the pandemic has limited expedition cruising in the Arctic, AECO and the industry has been keeping busy strengthening industry practices.
AECO’s members met virtually to discuss the challenges that the industry is facing and the ways in which it is gearing up for a busy and successful season of expedition cruising next year. As one of the world’s largest cruise organisations, AECO yet again represented the expedition cruise industry’s commitment to responsible and sustainable Arctic travel.
While it has been a challenging year for the industry, the expedition cruise organizations have rallied around the association, strengthening AECO’s position as a driving force for responsible Arctic travel.
“We are very grateful for the support and dedication that our members have shown throughout this challenging period. While operations have been halted, AECO and our members have done a tremendous amount of work in preparing for a safe reopening. Our members have expressed that they really see the value in being part of an association that monitors developments and advocates on their behalf, especially in periods when their own capacity is limited. Coming together like this gives the industry a unified voice and legitimacy when we represent the industry’s interests and work with authorities, local stakeholders and academia to advance responsible travel in the Arctic.” Frigg Jørgensen, Executive Director of AECO.
On the agenda were new marketing guidelines and regulatory developments in Svalbard, among other things. An important focus in the past operational year has been COVID-19 mitigation and response, members have benefited from being part of a collaborative association, with new procedures and examples of best practices within the industry being shared.
To ensure that the Arctic remains available and safe to visit for expedition cruise passengers in the coming years, AECO is also actively involved in regulatory processes that aim to ensure responsible and environmentally friendly tourism in the Arctic. The industry is preparing for Arctic operation in 2022 and have robust protocols in place for COVID-19 prevention.