More than 35 different Canadian authorities require more than 50 different applications and permits from cruise operators before they are allowed to visit Arctic Canada, according to the Association of Arctic Expedition Operators (AECO). It said that this keeps cruise operators, visitors and economic activities away from Canada.

The AECO has sent an open letter to Canadian stakeholders that are involved with permitting requirements for expedition cruise operators or involved with the political framework behind such requirements. The intention of the letter is to express a concern with the unfortunate fact that the Canadian Arctic is considered one of the most cumbersome, expensive and problematic regions in the world in which expedition cruise operators conduct tourism activities. Canada, as a destination, has a great deal to offer tourists from all over the world and the expedition cruise operators would like to continue to bring guests and economic activity to Canada. But improved cooperation of the Canadian authorities is needed to make this possible, according to AECO.

The list of permits include licenses, clearances, inspections, reviews, certifications, impact, registrations and reporting requirements, which Arctic cruise operators might have to adhere to when operating in the Canadian Arctic.

Frigg Joergensen, executive director of AECO, said in a prepared statement that hee believes that if this situation is not changed it will lead to a long-term loss of tourism and tourism related business for Canada. According to Joergensen, expedition cruise operators will—if things are not changed—continue to take their business elsewhere as they’ve done in the recent years. She added that she hopes that Canadian authorities will consult the industry to streamline and possibly even reduce the very high number of requirements and learn from other similar regions such as Greenland and Svalbard.

AECO represents its members—approximately 40 international companies that operate almost 30 vessels in Svalbard, Greenland, Canada and the Russian Arctic. Besides a number of Canadian members, AECO has members who have been engaged in expedition cruise tourism in Arctic Canada and other Arctic regions since the 1980s. AECO is dedicated to ensure responsible, environmentally friendly and safe expedition cruise tourism all over the Arctic. The organization takes the complexities of polar ship operations very seriously and AECO members work diligently to ensure the utmost consideration for local cultures, flora,