Punta Arenas will host IAATO’s 24th annual meeting in April next year
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) announced on Wednesday that Punta Arenas, Chile would be the site of its 24th Annual Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for April 22-24, 2013.
In making the announcement, IAATO Administrative Director Steve Wellmeier noted the association’s interest in highlighting the international scope of the organization, with its 111 member companies and organizations located around the world.
Punta Arenas is an important and traditional gateway to Antarctica for tourists travelling to the continent by air and ship. In the extreme south of Chile Punta Arenas is also a logistics hub for many countries with stations and research operations in Antarctica.
IAATO Members were invited by Counsellor Camilo Sanhueza, Director of the Chilean Foreign Ministry’s Antarctic Division, on behalf of the Chilean government, to consider Punta Arenas as a possible meeting venue at the IAATO Annual Meeting in Providence, held earlier this year. It is the Members who vote to select the location of future meetings.
Counsellor Sanhueza expressed his gratitude to IAATO Members for choosing Punta Arenas for the 2013 Annual Meeting, and said the effort to attract the association was the result of collaboration among the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Undersecretary of Tourism, the Regional Government of Magallanes Province, the Chilean Antarctic Institute and Chile-based IAATO Members.
Chile assigns special attention to Antarctica issues to the extent that the country’s Antarctic Institute, a few years ago was moved from Santiago to Punta Arenas. Likewise it has an air and sea infrastructure which is acknowledged for their efficiency and professionalism by country members from the Antarctic Treaty.