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An Open Letter to Travellers from Intrepid Travel’s Global Managing Director, James Thornton

February 2, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Dear Intrepid Travellers,

Intrepid began as a company dedicated to the idea that travel makes the world a better place. It’s a simple idea, but potentially a radical one: by venturing outside our ordinary lives we can fight prejudice, spread compassion, and actually help those less fortunate than ourselves. Basically, we want to change the way people see the world.

In the last few days, sadly, those ideals have come under threat.

Intrepid stands against any policy that closes borders, separates families, discriminates against religion or demonises the less fortunate. As global travellers, as people with a conscience, this isn’t something we can sit and watch. Not in silence.

Each year Intrepid carries more than 100,000 people around the world, from Antarctica all the way to the Arctic Circle. We’ve got over 1,600 staff working on seven continents. And it’s our commitment that each trip we run, every step we take, is taken in a spirit of inclusiveness, tolerance and understanding. That’s not a marketing line for us – it’s fundamental to what we do. It’s what makes us global citizens.

The free movement of people between borders is one of the fundamental building blocks of democracy. It’s a freedom that should be unfettered by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or ability. Available to all. And especially to those fleeing persecution, war, violence and tyranny. It’s a freedom we probably take for granted, but we should never underestimate its power to offer hope to the hopeless. That promise of a better life, just over the horizon.

I’ve travelled a lot, and it’s a privilege I do not take for granted. With every country visited, I learn something. With every meal shared, I become less ignorant, more inquisitive. Ultimately, it’s not governments or nations (or even executive orders) that have the greatest capacity for change. It’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Simple things. A traveller on a long and dusty road, swapping stories with a local.

That’s how you beat prejudice. And it starts with all of us, right now. 

We’ll be doing everything we can to help travellers and passengers affected by the current changes. But in the meantime, we strongly urge the American government to reinstate the rights of migrants and foreign citizens to enter the United States.

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