Polar Tourism Guides Association on Growth Trek

The Polar Tourism Guides Association (PTGA) has grown to some 200 members, and is busy running assessor training programs for multiple expedition operators, according to Graham Charles, president of the not-for-profit association.

“In this stage of our development, we are in the process of running assessor training, starting with an intensive two-day program,” he said.

Assessors then get a provisional accreditation, and become the trainers for expedition staff aboard their company’s ships.

In a quickly-growing expedition cruise market that may be digging deep for qualified staff, a training program could be a welcome and important addition.

Course areas include zodiac handling, navigation, radio and communications, presentation skills, interpretation skills, hike leading, snow and ice crack awareness, technical terrain, and sea kayaking.

Charles was recently back from Hobart, Australia, where he ran a training program for six expedition staff members from Aurora Expeditions.

“It’s a new development program for senior staff,” Charles added. “We’re developing people using formal models and tools of assesorship.”

Senior staff then take a new, additional role, according to Charles.

“Most are already expedition leaders, and are excited about their new role being a trainer.”

The PTGA has expanded its board to seven people – a list of high-profile names in the expedition world – and has also received ISO accreditation for its programs.

“We are just a standard,” Charles said. “We are not the standard. We wrote some standards because we needed something to assess against.”

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