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(Photo: AECO)
Expedition guides are among the most important decision-makers in sustainable tourism

AECO urges all Arctic field staff to take new online assessment

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators’ new Field Staff Online Assessment is part of the trade organization’s efforts to manage responsible and sustainable tourism in the Arctic.

Field staff are among the most important decision-makers. Good decisions rely on knowledge and competence. The Field Staff Online Assessment has been developed to ensure field staff have the necessary knowledge in relevant regulations and AECO’s many guidelines.

'We are extremely proud to take the Arctic expedition cruise industry and the AECO field staff to a new level of responsibility,' executive director Frigg Jørgensen said. 'This is not a result of legal or governmental requirements; it is an initiative driven by our members—responsible operators with the objective to ensure sustainable and considerate tourism.'

The assessment is an online multiple-choice test based on a pool of questions developed by a group of experts. There are various tests to choose from, and each test includes 60 to 80 randomly chosen questions from the pool. The regulatory framework is complex and large, and AECO itself has developed more than 30 guidelines (www.aeco.no/guidelines) that are mandatory for its members.

During the test, field staff may look up the answers. 'Field staff are not expected to know everything by heart, but they should know where to find the answers quickly,' Jørgensen said.

To pass the assessment, 80% correct answers are required, and a certificate of achievement will be issued and serve as a documentation of skills.

For the 2018 Arctic cruise season, AECO is strongly encouraging all members to ask their field staff to take the assessment. 'We see the 2018 season as a trial run, but fully expect that the Field Staff Online Assessment will be mandatory for all AECO members’ Arctic field staffs in the future,' Jørgensen said.

AECO members have free access to the online assessment, but the test is also available to other interested, who can contact AECO for details.

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