Improvements to Ushuaia Port services and future collaboration between the Antarctic cruise industry and the Argentine government were discussed last week at a meeting organized by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Fuegian Institute of Tourism (In.Fue.Tur).
Discussions focused on the future growth of Antarctic tourism and the corresponding needs of the city of Ushuaia, which serves as an important gateway to Antarctica for the industry.
Ute Hohn-Bowen, Antarpply Expeditions and co-Chair of IAATO’s Gateway Committee said, “Thanks to unprecedented attendance by representatives from all parties with a vested interest in the Ushuaia Gateway, this meeting was an exciting step towards positive and open communication between everyone involved.”
In addition to IAATO’s Executive Committee, representatives of IAATO’s Antarctic Gateway Committee and IAATO members, participants included Guillermo Dietrich, Minister of Transport to the Nation; Rosana Bertone, Governor of the Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands; Nestor Lagraña, President of the Provincial Ports Administration; and Luis Castelli, President of In.Fue.Tur.
The Argentine authorities outlined initiatives that will improve infrastructure and reduce operational costs, including fuel. They also assured IAATO Operators that building works to extend the pier at the Port of Ushuaia will cause minimal disruption to vessel operations.
Raúl Enrique Gallo, Project Director Antarctic Cruises of the General Ports Administration, affirmed the government’s commitment to continuing discussions with IAATO about the development of tourism infrastructure in Ushuaia, proposing to meet with IAATO representatives on a monthly basis between November 2017 and May 2018.
“This level of engagement from the national government has given IAATO much optimism for the future” said Terry Shaller from Ponant and Chair of IAATO’s Executive Committee. “Working together will enable us to promote sustainable growth in the area for the benefit of the local economy and community, travelers, our members and the environment.”
(*) IAATO is a member organization founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. IAATO Members work together to develop, adopt and implement operational standards that mitigate potential environmental impacts. These standards have proved to be successful including but are not limited to: Antarctic site-specific guidelines, site selection criteria, passenger to staff ratios, limiting numbers of passengers ashore, boot washing guidelines and the prevention of the transmission of alien organisms, wilderness etiquette, ship scheduling and vessel communication procedures, emergency medical evacuation procedures, emergency contingency plans, reporting procedures, marine wildlife watching guidelines, station visitation policies and much more. IAATO has a global network of over 100 members.