Published 2 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Tom Cleary/Unsplash
The world’s largest adventure travel company and certified B Corp is advocating for the safe return of international travel and improved access to COVID-19 vaccinations in low-income countries around the world.
Current data shows only 0.3 percent of doses worldwide have been administered in
low-income countries (with some estimating it may take another two
years for the vaccine to
reach the masses in many developing countries) — a number that must be corrected
if we are to restart economies, and meaningfully rebuild global
Intrepid Travel, long an industry leader when
it comes to sustainable
has continued to lead the charge in conscientiously rebuilding the industry
post-COVID — since the onset of the
pandemic, it launched
to help travel businesses decarbonize their operations and over 40 low-carbon
of its own. Now, Intrepid’s global vaccine-equity campaign will focus on three
pillars: improving vaccine access and education, mandating vaccines for
travelers and tour leaders, and a donation (via its philanthropic arm, The
Intrepid Foundation) to support global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Intrepid is mobilizing its 23 operational offices across five continents to
offer on-the-ground support, ranging from logistical and transportation
resources to training and education. Examples include:
In Cusco, Peru, Intrepid is offering free transportation to a
vaccination hub for trekking porters and their families, as well as
accommodation. Intrepid’s Deputy Operations Manager, Maritza Chacacanta,
also advocated for a new site to be opened closer to the porters’
communities. At the start of July 2021, Intrepid had 0 percent of porters
vaccinated. When the new site opened in Calca, that number had jumped to
80 percent by August 1.
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In Sri Lanka, to help address vaccine hesitancy, Intrepid’s Regional
General Manager of Asia, Anu Karunatilaka — who is based in Colombo
— hosted an information and Q&A session with Professor Neelika Malavige,
a member of the World Health Organization’s technical advisory committee
and the International Society of Infectious Diseases, to provide tour
guides with access to quality information and education about COVID-19
Globally, Intrepid has also offered paid vaccination leave to make it
easier for all staff to receive vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.
The Intrepid Foundation has committed to raise AUD $100,000 for UNICEF
Australia, including an upfront kickstart donation of AUD $50,000 to its
"Give the World a Shot"
fundraising appeal. UNICEF is leading the largest-ever vaccine procurement and
supply operation on behalf of the Global COVAX
Facility, which will see
two billion vaccine doses delivered in 190 countries to those who need them most
by the end of 2022. 100 percent of donations will go towards universal access to
COVID-19 vaccines, supporting COVAX in its mission to vaccinate 30 percent of
the global population by the end of 2021.
Intrepid has introduced a new mandatory vaccination policy for all travelers and
tour leaders from September 1, 2021.* Until now, Intrepid required either proof
of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours. Intrepid understood that
moving to a vaccine mandate for trips would only be possible with additional
commitments to ensure tour leaders and the communities they visit are given
equal access to vaccines (*the vaccine mandate excludes limited local travel in
Australia and New Zealand, due to strict government lockdowns and
international border closures).
“We are introducing a global vaccine mandate to not only ensure the safety of
our travelers but the safety of our tour leaders, their families and the
communities that we visit,” says Intrepid CEO James Thornton.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that access to vaccines is not equal globally;
and we cannot responsibly require leaders to be vaccinated if we don’t also help
to advocate and improve their access to them.
“Intrepid was founded on ideals of inclusivity and equality; and the entire
travel industry must step up to acknowledge and act on the current inequalities
that persist around global access to COVID-19 vaccines. Ending the pandemic is
not only about you and your vaccine,” Thornton added. “Just because travelers
are vaccinated and ready to explore doesn’t mean that communities are vaccinated
and ready to host you. Together, we have a responsibility to ensure that
everyone can safely and fairly access vaccinations in every country around the
For more information, visit The Intrepid Foundation’s Give the World a
Shot donation page and
Intrepid Travel’s COVID-19 Hub.
Published Aug 5, 2021 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST