Arctic Marine Tourism Project taking shape 19 August 2015Protection of the Arctic Marine EnvironmentInternational Maritime Organization (IMO) The Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) is part of a renewed effort by the Arctic Council to analyze and promote sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic. The AMTP is organized by the Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) and co-led by Canada and the United States. Recognizing the unique and wide-ranging management challenges associated with the growth of tourism across the circumpolar Arctic, 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. The Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) is part of a renewed effort by the Arctic Council to analyze and promote sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic. The overall objective of the AMTP is to provide guidance to a range of Arctic stakeholders on means to strengthen and promote sustainable Arctic marine tourism, defined (in the 2006 Arctic Council report “Sustainable Model for Arctic Regional Tourism”) as tourism that minimizes negative impacts and maximizes socio-cultural, environmental and economic benefits for residents of the Arctic. Organized by the Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) and co-led by Canada and the United States, the AMTP will identify issues or gaps where the Arctic Council can add value by articulating best practices in relation to vessel-based Arctic tourism and is primarily focused on aspects of marine tourism that fall outside the competency of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In addition to holding two workshops dedicated to this issue, it is expected that the proposed creation of an ‘Arctic Marine Tourism Best Practices’ document will be put to Arctic Council Ministers for consideration in spring 2015. The first AMTP workshop was held in Ottawa on March 18-19, 2014. The workshop involved representatives from industry, government, academia, the not-for-profit sector, and local communities discussing emerging trends, potential impacts and opportunities, and oversight of marine tourism across the Arctic Region. Participants engaged in robust discussions and began to coalesce around potential concepts for proposed “best practices”, such as better engagement and communication between industry and communities. PAME will continue its inter-sessional work to advance the project leading to a second dedicated AMTP workshop planned for the fall of 2014.