Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP). Best Practice Guidelines.
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)
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The Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) is the first project in a potential suite of renewed efforts by the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group to analyze and encourage sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic. Recognizing the unique and wide-ranging management challenges associated with the growth of tourism in this region, the Arctic Council, at the 2013 Kiruna Ministerial meeting, indicated its support for the development of a cross-cutting initiative centered on strengthening sustainability within the industry and based upon the needs and priorities identified within recent Arctic Council documents including the Senior Arctic Official’s Report to Ministers (2013), the Arctic Ocean Review Final Report (2013) and Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship (2013-2015) Program Priorities. In broad terms the AMTP attempts to identify issues or gaps where the Arctic Council can add value through the articulation of best practice guidelines specific to marine based Arctic tourism. In undertaking this project the PAME Working Group has produced a document that: • Takes into account regional variations, types of vessels and tourism operations and multiple stakeholder perspectives; • Considers the intended audience(s) for best practice guidelines; • Minimizes duplication by being aware of existing guidelines and best practices related to Arctic marine tourism; and • Focuses on aspects of Arctic marine tourism that fall outside the competency of, or remain unaddressed by, the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Aware of the diversity of actors engaged in Arctic marine tourism, the AMTP also recognizes that many operators with a longstanding history in the Arctic - in particular members of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) - tend to be familiar with the risks, issues and considerations related to Arctic marine tourism. Generally, these operators set a positive example, including for those less experienced with the challenges of Arctic marine tourism like pleasure craft. Indeed, many of these experienced operators have good relations and communications with local communities and coastal administrations and conduct their operations in a responsible, safe, and environmentally sustainable way. The AMTP best practice guidelines document is primarily based on the outcomes of two international workshops convened to gather relevant experts from government, industry, academia, the not-for-profit sector, and indigenous and Arctic communities to present and share information on Arctic marine tourism. The results of these workshops have been distilled and subsequently strengthened by complementary PAME documentation and interdisciplinary review by Arctic Council member governments through relevant working groups.
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