Arctic Expeditionary Cruise Operators AECO

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Arctic Expeditionary Cruise Operators AECO

AECO is an international organization for expedition cruise operators in the Arctic who are dedicated to manage environmentally-friendly, safe and respectable cruises. We presently have more than 50 members, 26 which are expedition cruise operators in the Arctic. This includes the majority of the expedition cruise operators in this region. Members of AECO will in years to come bring between 15000 and 20000 passengers to the Arctic.

Our members agree that expedition cruises and tourism in the Arctic must be carried out with the utmost consideration for the vulnerable natural environment, local cultures and cultural remains, as well as the challenging safety hazards at sea and on land. AECO-members are obligated to operate in accordance with national and international laws and regulations and agreed upon AECO by-laws and guidelines.

The association was established in 2003 and has since then:

Become the primary organization representing the concerns and views of the expedition cruise tourism companies operating in the ArcticDeveloped a comprehensive set of guidelines http://www.aeco.no/guidelines/ for cruise operations in Arctic areas which our members are obliged to follow. This includes 20 Site Guidelines for Svalbard – see http://www.aeco.no/guidelines/site-guidelines/ and the animation “Guidelines for visitors to the Arctic” http://www.aeco.no/guidelines/visitor-guidelines/, available in 14 different subtitle languages.

    • Involved and achieved results in a number of hearings and other processes related to the management of tourism in the Arctic. Developed a cruise database for registration of operators, vessels, ship schedules and compulsory post visit reporting (as required by governments).


    • Established a compulsory vessel tracking for vessels carrying more than 12 passengers.


    • Together with IAATO (International Association of Antarctica tour operators) launched a depth sounding crowd sourcing project for enhances safety at sea.


    • Together with the Governor of Svalbard initiated and maintained the “Clean up Svalbard” project.


    • Served as a contact and advisory group to government ministries and agencies responsible for tourism related management and regulations.


    • Contributed to Arctic research with competence and data as well as logistics.


    • Established co-ordination and co-operation between Arctic cruise operators


    • Developed statistics


    • Organized annual Arctic cruise related conferences and workshop


    • Together with the Coast Guard Iceland and in cooperation with other Arctic RCCs organized the 1. Industry – SAR Entities Arctic SAR TTX and workshop (the 2. Will find place in 2017).


  • AECO works with a wide range of partners and contacts included hydrographic offices, meteorological offices, coastal administrations, SAR RCCs, researchers, satellite services, authorities in general and others.

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