Survey Shows that Eco Tours Motivate People to Protect Environmentally Sensitive Areas

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT—(PRNewswire – April 22, 2008) –

A survey released today by Quark Expeditions, the world leader in polar adventure travel, shows that 60% of people who participate in polar expedition ecotours are motivated to protect environmentally sensitive areas. To inspire more individuals to become active in the conversation and protection of the Arctic and Antarctica, Quark Expeditions today announced the Polar Ambassador Program.

Conducted by The Tourism Company, a leading Canadian tourism research firm, The Quark Expeditions 2007 Guest Survey surveyed 231 male and female guests hailing from every continent with the goal of assessing their opinions regarding global warming and responsible tourism. It found that, as a result of their expedition experience, 60% of guests were motivated to protect environmentally sensitive areas. In addition, 80% consider the issue of global warming to be very important to them and 60% experienced heightened awareness as to the urgent need to protect these areas.

After their tour, one survey responder emarked, “Global warming is real and not an over exaggeration.” While others remarked, “This expedition has made me realize that every individual must take responsibility and I must set an even better example to my children, grandchildren and friends,” and “Now that we are better informed we need to speak up for change back home.”

To help individuals speak-up for change, Quark’s new Polar Ambassador Program is designed to provide post-expedition support to individuals interested in working to help preserve the Arctic for future generations. The program will be first introduced to travelers on board Quark vessels during the Arctic 2008 season (June 9 – September 27) and will continue post- expedition through an online community. On-board the program will be delivered through a series of presentations about the biology, geology, glaciology and history of the regions, discussions about global warming and the negative impact that choices made in the developed world have on the polar regions. In addition, a wallet-sized booklet containing 10 simple things that travelers can do when they return home will ensure that Ambassadors will have information at their fingertips at all times. After returning home, the Polar Ambassador online community will serve as a gathering place with resources: a slideshowBook Club, and eventually, a Film Club and lesson plans.

“We support the scientific view that the polar regions are a bellwether for the health of the planet and that failure to protect the region’s unique biology and geology will have an adverse effect on the planet as a whole,” said Patrick Shaw, President of Quark Expeditions. “This Program enables our travelers to return from their adventure with tools and information that will allow them to effectively educate their family, friends and colleagues with more than just pictures and stories.”

Arctic areas are some of the last truly unspoiled regions of the world. Antarctica, features multi-colored ice caps, glistening glaciers and towering snow-capped mountains. Alternatively, the Arctic region claims a beauty of its own, an endless expanse of the sea which is rich in biodiversity, including whales, seals and vast numbers of seabirds that rely on the food-rich waters. Protection of the polar regions is critical to the future health and wellness of our planet where global warming is resulting in diminishing glaciers and causing rising sea levels all over the world. The polar regions are important places for obtaining information about evolution, geological, climatic and marine processes.

Quark Expeditions is a travel company committed to responsible tourism. It advocates for the protection of the polar regions. Their voyages are planned to minimize any disturbance to wildlife or fragile habitats. They follow strict codes of conduct set out by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators to ensure that the ships, Zodiacs and helicopters are operated in an environmentally responsible manner.

For more information about the Polar Ambassador Program, visit

About Quark Expeditions.

Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has been establishing a tradition of firsts in polar expedition travel; as the first to transit the Northeast Passage with commercial passengers; the first to take travelers to the far side of Antarctica; and the first to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent with guests. Quark is also recognized for its diverse fleet; the largest fleet of passenger vessels in the polar regions—including the only polar icebreaker operating as an adventure ship in Antarctica. The fleet enables Quark to offer the widest variety of polar itineraries of any other adventure company in the world, and the greatest number of departures to Antarctica. In October 2006 and 2007, Quark was named a recipient of National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” for their “Emperor Penguin Safari” and their “Far Side” voyage respectively. In the March 2006 edition, Outside magazine named the “Emperor Penguin Safari” as one of the New Trips of a Lifetime. For more information, visit