The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) met in Providence, RI from 27-29 May for their 25th gathering of members. As at previous meetings, the goal was to review the past year and discuss current and future issues for the Antarctic tourism industry in line with the association’s mission to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible tourism.  On 30 May, an additional workshop was held on Adventure Activities and Risk Management in Antarctica.  

Over 120 people attended the meeting including IAATO members, government officials, and representatives from universities and organizations such as Environment Canada, Department of Conservation, New Zealand, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, Oceanites and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs.

At the opening of the meeting there was a pause to pay tribute to the extraordinary life of Dr. Charles Swithinbank, glaciologist and polar specialist whose pioneering work in the Antarctic and Arctic benefitted the communities of science and tourism alike.   Swithinbank died, aged 87, on May 27.