The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators has created an Antarctic Ambassadorship Committee to evolve its efforts to turn visitors and Antarctic enthusiasts into ambassadors for the region.
The announcement follows the second global Antarctic Ambassadorship Day (April 24), a day created as part of IAATO’s Antarctic Ambassadors Project to inspire people around the world to act for Antarctica by making everyday changes at home.
Incoming Chair of the Antarctic Ambassadorship Committee, Steve Jones, said: “Antarctic Ambassadorship is at the core of IAATO’s mission, and the creation of this new committee shows that in the clearest possible terms.
“Everyone who cares about Antarctica has a responsibility to advocate and act for the continent. We plan to make it easier than ever before for people to show their commitment and truly become Antarctic Ambassadors.”
The Antarctic Ambassadorship Committee was voted into being at IAATO’s annual meeting, held in Hamburg, Germany from April 25 – 27. It has evolved from IAATO’s Education & Outreach Working Group, a group set up in 2015 to assist the IAATO Secretariat in an advisory capacity in developing the Antarctic Ambassador concept, and communication campaigns.
In 2020 – 2021, the working group used the pause in tourism operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to develop an Antarctic Ambassadorship package to support educational programs, including Ambassador resources for field staff, guests and Antarctic enthusiasts around the world. In May 2021, IAATO formalised its definition of an Antarctic Ambassador to be someone who:
- Loves and respects the region;
- Educates others by sharing their Antarctic experiences;
- Advocates for Antarctica when opportunities arise, and;
- Protects Antarctica by making positive changes at home.
The idea behind the L.E.A.P acronym is to empower everyone to LEAP into action as ambassadors, using their knowledge and passion in support of Antarctica.
In 2023-24, the Antarctic Ambassadorship Committee will be focusing on the delivery of the Antarctic Ambassador Project via IAATO members by creating a structured program that field staff across the membership can deliver consistently to engage and inspire Antarctic visitors, starting them on their journey of ambassadorship during their expedition.
The committee will be formalising the user journey for would-be Antarctic Ambassadors to achieve Ambassador status through a series of actions and outcomes. This work began in 2022 with the launch of the (Antarctic) Ambassadorship Challenge; a 24-task downloadable card designed to inspire polar enthusiasts to be Antarctic Ambassadors and make changes at home to support the region – even if they never plan to visit the continent themselves.
IAATO Director of Communications, Hayley Collings, said: “The year ahead will see the Antarctic Ambassadors Project evolve, creating tiers of ambassadorship individuals can aspire to, working their way up through positive actions.
“This will not only enable visitors returning from Antarctica to continue the journey their IAATO member operator started them on, but will allow those who have not been, nor plan to travel to Antarctica, to engage with the program at the same level.”