Pelorus understands the importance of making a trip memorable, something that will stay with you for a lifetime. However, whilst we understand how fundamental experience is, it’s crucial that steps are being taken to protect and respect the environments in which our clients find themselves exploring. With climate change and responsible travel at the forefront of mainstream media reporting, and at the centre of how we operate at Pelorus, we all understand the fragility of the more remote regions now opening up to tourism and the importance of managing travel operations in these destinations. The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) does just this through strict guidelines that help preserve biodiversity and local communities as well as through their Clean Seas initiatives. As proud members of AECO, Pelorus Yacht Expeditions sought out its new Assistant Director, Anders La Cour Vahl, to discuss his background and to find out more about how AECO works to secure a bright future for the Arctic.
Can you tell us about your background and how you came to your current position?
With an MA in anthropology and history, I started my career in 1994 working in the Greenland tourism industry. First as a field guide and later as a tourist manager, where I had my first assignments organising activities for visiting cruise ships. Following this, for more than 15 years I worked at the National Tourist Board of Greenland and was responsible for cruise tourism development, which meant I worked closely with AECO. Working towards sustainable cruise development in the Arctic with a high degree of local involvement had always been important to me, and so it was only natural that when the position became available at AECO, I jumped at the opportunity.
Can you summarise the role of AECO?
Founded in 2003, AECO has become crucial in representing the concerns and views of Arctic expedition cruise operators. We are dedicated to managing environmentally friendly, safe, and considerate practices for both cruise and yacht tourism and for expedition operators. Striving to set the highest possible operating standards, AECO has over 75 international members, including 46 vessel operators and 60 expedition cruise vessels. It is AECO’s responsibility to represent the great majority of these operations in the Arctic.