This year marks the 25th anniversary of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) which was founded in 1991. The organisation, which now numbers over 100 member companies, was originally composed of just seven companies operating expedition cruise vessels in the Antarctic. Members now also include yacht operators, land and air operations, tourism companies and bureaus, agents, conservation organisations and specialist expedition management companies.
IAATO is a non-profit industry association and its founding principles and mission, to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private sector travel to the Antarctic, remain as true today as they did 25 years ago. Members recognise that the protection of the Antarctic is largely dependent upon the sound policy to which all Antarctic Treaty nations adhere and IAATO remains committed to working diligently to establish extensive operational procedures, activity guidelines and restrictions, with the goal of "leaving the Antarctic Environment as pristine and majestic for future generations as it is today”.
Whilst not a member of IAATO, the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) has worked closely with IAATO for many years. IAATO’s high standards and self-regulatory approach mean that IAATO vessels visiting South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands have access to a wide range of approved landing sites. GSGSSI is working with IAATO to better understand the tourism challenges of the future, including the importance of facilitating visitor access whilst protecting this UK Overseas Territory's unique environment.
During the 2015-16 season some 39,000 travellers visited the Antarctic with IAATO members. Over the same period over 8,000 visitors travelled to South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands on IAATO cruise vessels and yachts.
55p: M/V Lindblad Explorer - the first vessel specifically built for taking fee paying passengers to the Antarctic in 1969 and was the first cruise ship to visit South Georgia.
70p: Wildlife protection is an essential aspect of any visit to South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands and zodiac cruising, in accordance with IAATO guidelines, is a good means of observing wildlife, especially dense coastal penguin colonies, without causing any disturbance or harm to adult birds and chicks.
80p: Having completed a special assessment process, permission is granted annually to a handful of overland expeditions. A significant number of these involve IAATO guides leading specialist groups of clients. The overland traverse of the island, following the route taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1916, remains the most popular.
£1: South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands receives in the region of 15 visits by IAATO yachts annually. As well as carrying tourists, some support expedition groups such as mountaineers or film production teams.
Layout Bee Design
Photography Kim Crosbie (55p, 70p, FDC)
Skip Novak (80p, £1)
Printer BDT International
Perforation 14 per 2cms
Stamp size 28.45 x 42.58mm
Sheet Layout 10
Release date 4 May, 2016
Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd
For further information about IAATO please visit http://iaato.org/history-of-iaato