As of today, AECO's geographical range includes Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Greenland, Arctic Canada and the Russian Arctic National Park, and from 2019 also Iceland. At least 25% of AECO’s operating members have itineraries that already include or will include Iceland in the future.
AECO is also responsible for an annual Joint Arctic Search and Rescue (SAR) Tabletop Exercise (TTX) that is taking place in Reykjavik every April, in collaboration with the Icelandic Coast Guard. The exercise involves cruise industry and SAR organizations from across the Arctic.
What is more, AECO has developed guidelines that the members are obliged to follow. This includes operational guidelines, wildlife guidelines, visitors’ guidelines, site specific guidelines and others.
In fact, together with Cruise Iceland and other partners from other North Atlantic areas, AECO has established Community Guidelines for visitors to North Atlantic communities.
Namely, last summer AECO collaborated with local stakeholders to set out community specific guidelines for Seyðisfjörður. The guidelines are expected to be finalized later this year.
AECO will now further assess guidelines to consider the need for local adjustments, but the guidelines will be compulsory for members operating in Iceland.
AECO’s executive director Frigg Jørgensen, stated on the occasion:
Over many years, we have built beneficial cooperation with several stakeholders in Iceland. We have been watching the increase in tourism, including cruise tourism, and we believe AECO’s guidelines, measures and tools can be helpful.