Travelling to Antarctica – IAATO Guidelines
As one of the first operators to become an IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) member, Aurora Expeditions is committed to responsible and respectful travel to Antarctica.
It is important to familiarise yourself with key information and protocols, and important information about Avian Influenza, before travelling to this region.
Please download and read the following documents. We thank you for your support for the ongoing protection and preservation of Antarctica.
Don't Pack a Pest!
Avian Influenza Update: 28 November, 2023
We are actively monitoring the developments closely and are in constant communication with key authorities such as IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) and the GSGSSI (Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands).
The Avian Flu has extended its presence to South Georgia, leading to temporary restrictions at some landing sites. Although specific locations may be inaccessible due to the ongoing situation, it is important to clarify that the GSGSSI has not imposed a complete closure of the Island. Landing at numerous open sites is still permitted.
Our operations are continuing based on the regular updates received from IAATO and the GSGSSI.
Our onboard protocols have been reinforced, ensuring that stringent measures are in place to safeguard our passengers, wildlife, and the local environment:
- Prior to landings, our onboard experts will thoroughly inspect potential landing sites and determine any risks.
- Onboard biosecurity measures will be enhanced before arrival to Antarctica, between landings and between Antarctic and Subantarctic regions.
We will continue to maintain a proactive approach, closely monitoring updates from IAATO and the GSGSSI.
IAATO 2023-24 Avian Influenza Protocols
Since 2021 the increasing intensity of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 outbreaks has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of seabirds around the world. Marine mammals, including seals and sea lions, have also been affected.
The Antarctic community, from Antarctic Treaty parties to scientists, National Programmes and the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) is concerned about the heightened risk of avian influenza arriving in Antarctica via animals migrating to and from the region. This could have a serious impact on the local wildlife.
We are committed to the robust procedures in place to protect Antarctica from pathogens and non-native species. Due to the increase of avian influenza elsewhere in the world, we are heightening our vigilance with regards to operations this season.
Here is how you can prevent it being introduced and spread:
Before you go
Before you leave home ensure anything that may come into contact with the Antarctic environment – including clothing and equipment – is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Use IAATO’s Don’t Pack a Pest guide above to assist you.
In Antarctica: Visiting Wildlife
Existing protocols, including daily biosecurity procedures and maintaining minimum distances from wildlife, are an essential part of protecting Antarctica.
During mandatory briefings at the start of your voyage, your Expedition Team will give you detailed information about these protocols and additional steps we are taking to protect Antarctica from Avian Influenza, in addition to sharing an informative video from IAATO.
Onboard both of our ships, there will be easily accessible information about the measures Aurora has implemented, and how expeditioners can do their bit to protect the pristine wilderness of Antarctica.
In particular, it is essential that expeditioners refrain from sitting, kneeling or laying down, or placing equipment on the ground or snow, when on shore excursions.
If in doubt, ask your guides for direction. Find out more about Avian Influenza from the World Organisation for Animal Health.