More than 35 different Canadian authorities require more than 50 different applications and permits from cruise operators before they are allowed to visit Arctic Canada. This keeps cruise operators, visitors and economic activities away from Canada.
Cumbersome, expensive and problematic
This week AECO (the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators) sent an open letter to Canadian stakeholders that are involved with permitting requirements for expedition cruise operators or involved with the political framework behind such requirements. The intention of the letter was to express a concern with the unfortunate fact that the Canadian Arctic is considered one of the most cumbersome, expensive and problematic regions in the world in which expedition cruise operators conduct tourism activities.
Canada, as a destination, has a great deal to offer tourists from all over the world and the expedition cruise operators would like to continue to bring guests and economic activity to Canada. But improved cooperation of the Canadian authorities is needed to make this possible. More than 50 different permitsThe list of permitting requirements for cruise operators in Arctic Canada seems to be ever-increasing. The illustrative list below includes 52 different permitting, licensing, clearance, inspection, review, certification, impact, registration and reporting requirements, which Arctic cruise operators might have to adhere to when operating in the Canadian Arctic. Canadian researcher Ph.D. Jackie Dawson, Canada Research Chair in Environment, Society and Policy and Assistant Professor at University of Ottawa is working on article with the premise, “This situation limits economic development and local entrepreneurship opportunities and essentially yet unintentionally undermines some of the work that is being conducted by the same institutions that are implementing the permits.”
Lack of clarity put operators in risk of non-compliance
The current state of affairs and difficulties in obtaining information is a serious concern to all operators. According to Hans Lagerweij, President and CEO of Canadian-based Quark Expeditions,“No Canadian body has been able to provide a complete list of requirements and/or a list of permitting authorities, so operators could easily oversee one or more requirements, which could result in a company unintentionally being non-compliant. This complete lack of clarity is a serious concern for all operators.” According to Lagerweij, one solution could be a central permitting body or office.
Streamlining urgently needed
Frigg Jørgensen, Executive Director of AECO, believes that if this situation is not changed it will lead to a long-term loss of tourism and tourism related business for Canada. “As an organization representing Arctic expedition cruise operators, we strongly urge Canadian authorities to start a process in order to streamline the complex, time consuming, expensive and unclear permitting situation that is the reality in the Canadian Arctic today.” Accordingto Jørgensen, the expedition cruise operators will—if things are not changed—continue to take their business elsewhere as they’ve done in the recent years. She hopes that the Canadian authorities will consult the industry to streamline and possibly even reduce the very high number of requirements and learn from other similar regions such as Greenland and Svalbard.
Article submitted by AECO: www.aeco.no