The PTGA is a US federally recognized 501-c6 non-profit Professional Industry Association servicing the standards and competency needs of polar tourism operators, field staff and guides across all platforms of polar tourism for the benefit of all stakeholders and the environments we represent.

By definition the polar regions consist of the ice-covered Arctic Ocean and surrounding land, including all of Greenland and Spitsbergen, the northern parts of Alaska, Canada, USA, Norway, Russia and the entire continent of Antarctica.

Any professional represented by the PTGA will have contractually embraced our Code of Conduct, environmental ethos and standards of professionalism. They will understand how these fit not only into the broader culture of polar tourism guiding and the organizations they work for, but also where these concepts come from, why they exist and where continued development can be obtained. A contemporary guide needs to build, or arrive with, a range of core competencies relevant to polar tourism. Some of these are obvious and training pathways are linear, others are more nuanced, require an untestable level of emotional intelligence and a simple training course can’t guarantee proficiency.

The PTGA is here to facilitate this development because the modern polar tourism guide exemplifies a service role of critical importance to operators and the environment as more and more people buy experiences that can, through fact and observation, explain the world around them and give meaning to their lives. Polar Tourism Guides are at the peak of the polar tourism experience. They provide valuable and interesting information, stories about the landscapes and wildlife, they provide safety management for each experience, and ultimately not only safeguard a PTI company’s reputation but enhance the client experience to a transformational level.


  • Creating a Profession
  • International Standards
  • Contemporary Assessment Practices


To provide internationally recognized qualifications for guides across all platforms of polar tourism.


  • Foster professional standards of operation across all platforms of polar tourism.
  • Role-model, encourage and support environmentally sustainable practises in polar tourism.
  • Create Polar Tourism Qualifications (PTQs) that provide a working framework and minimum standard of operation for the key skills required by Polar Tourism Guides.
  • Create and provide training pathways and assessment in PTQ awards.
  • Work with companies, institutes, communities and individuals to find the most cost effective way to incorporate the PTGA framework into their operation.
  • Affiliate with other international frameworks, qualifications and organisations to provide the most up-to-date training and assessment schemes.
  • Disseminate current and relevant field information.
  • Provide added value through a number of financially beneficial deals available to the membership.
  • Develop polar guiding into a recognized profession through our commitment to training, robust standards, continual professional development (CPD), industry best practice and code of conduct.
  • Be responsible for promoting the highest standards of professionalism and polar tourism guiding skills so that our clients and peers enjoy the best possible experience while in our care.
  • Ensure that members skills remain valid through revalidation of PTQs and CPD.