Aurora Expeditions believes that travel to remote destinations can create lifelong ambassadors for environmental protection. Sensitivity to environmental considerations is a core part of our culture and our staff have a unique ability to share their love and respect of nature with our passengers. We take every opportunity to explain the fragile ecosystems we encounter. Aurora Expeditions has been a leader in responsible tourism since the company’s inception in 1991. We were the first Australian member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and our co-founder Greg Mortimer is actively involved with its Executive Committee. The Association deals with all aspects of Antarctic tourism, but its most important charter is responsible environmental practices.
Following in IAATO’s footsteps, in 2003 the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) was founded as an international organization for expedition cruise operators in the Arctic. The organisation is dedicated to manage respectable, environmentally friendly and safe expeditions in the Arctic. Expansion into other Arctic regions such as the Canadian Arctic and Russian Arctic is currently being planned.
Giving Back to the Environment
To help reduce our impact, Aurora Expeditions' passengers are fully briefed on environmental guidelines and the scientific reasons behind them. Our experienced guides demonstrate how to observe wildlife in ways that cause minimum impact. Our excellent guide to passenger ratio means the environmental education continues on shore.
In addition, through company donations and funds from our VIP Club (passengers who have made three or more journeys with us), we give grants to scientists to research topics where our activities may have an impact. For example:
- Aurora Expeditions has donated money to an Albatross conservation project researching bycatch of seabirds in fisheries.
- We helped fund Aurora Expeditions' naturalist Dr Gary Miller’s participation in an important meeting in Brazil for the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR). Dr Gary conducts research on South Polar Skuas.
- We are supporting important research by Leanne Gillespie, a past Aurora Expeditions' passenger. As part of her Masters degree, Leanne will investigate the effectiveness of Virkon boot disinfection in avoiding potential translocation of diseases in Antarctica.
- Aurora Expeditions took four workmen down to the Mawson’s Huts Historic Site to complete important restoration work.
- In the High Arctic, Aurora Expeditions is an active participant in the ‘Clean Up Svalbard’ campaign.
- Aurora Expeditions regularly provides transport aboard our ships for scientific researchers and equipment.
Select on Impact
How do you know if you are travelling with a company that’s promoting low impact expeditions? It’s worth remembering to check some important factors when choosing a tour operator:
- Environment friendly logos, partnerships and advertising does not ensure a travel company practices low impact travel.
- Ask questions about how your travel company implements low impact actions.
- Check the group size of your cruise. Small group sizes can minimise environmental impact.
- Ask someone who has travelled with a company what the guides did to ensure a low impact on the environment and wildlife.
- Ask the company if educational programmes are in place for their passengers that encourage environmentally conscious habits.