Environmentally Responsible Tourism

Quark and the Polar Environment: download the PDF >

Our expeditions to fragile and unique habitats are operated in an environmentally responsible manner. As active members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), we adhere to stringent guidelines designed to ensure the polar regions will remain pristine for generations to come.

Guests aboard AECO and IAATO member vessels can rest assured that the impact of their visit is mitigated by adherence to the organizations’ guidelines.

IAATO Guidelines

The principles on which the IAATO Guidelines rest are the protection of Antarctic wildlife, safety, as well as respect for protected areas and scientific research. An explanation of these fundamentals follows:

  • Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.
  • A variety of areas in the Antarctic have been afforded special protection because of their particular ecological, scientific, historic, or other values. Entry into certain areas may be prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by an appropriate national authority. Activities in and near designated Historic Sites and Monuments and certain other areas may be subject to special restrictions.
  • Do not interfere with scientific research, facilities or equipment.
  • Be prepared for severe and changeable weather and ensure that your equipment and clothing meet Antarctic standards. Remember that the Antarctic environment is inhospitable, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous.

AECO Guidelines

AECO’s main objective is to ensure that expeditions to the Arctic are carried out with the utmost consideration for the environment. The organization has identified eight key behaviors that will protect the region:

  • Leave no lasting signs of your visit.
  • Do not take anything with you.
  • Do not disturb animals and birds.
  • Do not pick flowers.
  • Leave cultural remains alone.
  • Take the polar bear danger seriously.
  • Respect local culture and local people.
  • Be safe.

Protection and Preservation

The guidelines are similar, but the principle that underlies them is identical: Protection of the polar regions is possible only through a commitment to environmentally responsible tourism by all who travel there.