Azamara gets the nod for Antarctica operation

IAATO grants 'Provisional Operator' status to five, welcomes eight Associates

Azamara is one of five travel and cruise companies to be granted ‘Provisional Operator’ status to operate in Antarctica. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) gave the boutique cruise line – along with Exploris, Polar Pioneer Management, Tecla, and Ultima – the nod effective 1 May 2023.

Azamara has two departures scheduled to operate to Antarctica next season, with Azamara Quest visiting the White Continent over three days on the 20-day Antarctica Holiday Voyage on 10 December 2023 and the 17-night Antarctica Quest Voyage on 18 February 2024.

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IAATO’s members also approved eight operators ‘Associates’ status at the end of 2022 to Bunker One A/S, Freestyle Adventure Travel, South America Shipping, UnWild Planet Travel and Polar Tourism Guides Association (PTGA). While Avila Reizen, Falkland Islands Development Corporation and Summit Aviation were voted-in last week (25 to 27 April 2023).

Existing Provisional Operators Atlas Ocean Voyages, Intrepid Expeditions, Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings, Princess Cruises and Swan Hellenic were granted Operator status.

Tudor Morgan, Chair of IAATO’s Executive Committee, said: “We’re pleased to welcome our new associates who by joining IAATO have demonstrated their commitment to advocating and promoting the practice of safe and environmentally responsible operations in Antarctica.

“We’re also delighted to see existing provisional operators move forward with their membership to become full operators.”

There are two categories of IAATO membership: Operators and Associates. Operators (and Provisional Operators) are companies that operate directly in Antarctica and organize their own travel programs, while Associates are tour operators, travel agents or other companies that book their customers into Operator member’s Antarctic programs.

As a condition of membership, all new Provisional Operators are required to carry an IAATO observer on board to witness their operations in the field. Observations not only provide a forum for feedback but offer a further opportunity for the membership to make sure that IAATO’s robust operational guidelines are upheld in practice.

Gina Greer, IAATO Executive Director said: “Earning a place within the IAATO membership reflects dedication to our mission, the tenets of the Antarctic Treaty and a great deal of hard work.

“We’re delighted to welcome our eight new members into our unique association and grant full operator status to five provisional operators.”

The newest affiliates bring IAATO’s membership to 46 operators, 11 provisional operators, 45 associate members and seven non-profit Associates members.

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