The first conference has been held to bring together Polar field staff, featuring members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operations (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).
The two Polar Regions were represented by governments, universities and the WWF along with IAATO and AECO members.
Joint enthusiasm for citizen science and outreach to the public was the major outcome.
Tourism to Antarctica, after a period of downturn, is diversifying. Kim Crosbie, Executive Director of IAATO, explained that “People’s desire for ‘new’ activities coupled with advances in technology can create the potential for the diversification of activities”. She cited unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and their potential for conducting surveys as examples of technology that can allow tourists to conduct citizen science.
Citizen science is also highlighted as a way of combatting the incompleteness of certain official surveys, specifically with whales in the Southern Ocean.
Image credit: Ville Miettinen / Flickr