As COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally, Intrepid Travel has launched a fundraising and advocacy campaign aimed at supporting global vaccine equity.
Via The Intrepid Foundation, the company has committed to raise $100,000 for UNICEF Australia, including an upfront kickstart donation of $50,000, to support universal access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Meanwhile, its teams around the world have committed to helping provide easier access to COVID-19 vaccines in remote communities and educating staff to help resolve vaccine hesitancy.
While some developed countries have successfully accessed COVID vaccines and rolled out mass vaccination programs, Intrepid CEO James Thornton said this is not the case in most countries, and noted that vaccine hesitancy and other practical challenges around access are also contributing to low vaccination rates globally.
“Intrepid was founded on ideals of inclusivity and equality, and we’re very concerned about the unequal access to vaccines around the world,” he said.
“Ending the pandemic is not only about you and your vaccine. We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can safely and fairly access vaccinations, in every country around the world.”
UNICEF is leading the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history as part of the global COVAX Facility, which aims to see two billion vaccine doses delivered in 190 countries to those who need them most by the end of 2021, and one billion syringes procured and delivered by the end of 2021.
UNICEF is the largest procurer and distributor of vaccines globally, and already vaccinates one in every two children in the world.
“As we are dealing with a global health crisis, we need to work together more than we ever have before to vaccinate the world,” said UNICEF Australia chief Tony Stuart.
“We cannot leave any community or country behind in this history-making mission. Everyone has a role to play, and that is why Intrepid’s partnership and support as a member of the COVID Vaccination Alliance of UNICEF Australia is vital in helping to achieve vaccine equity.”
Intrepid is also taking practical steps to help support access to and participation in vaccines, including paid vaccination leave for staff, providing free transport to vaccination a vaccination hub for trekking porters and their families in Peru, and hosting an information session to help address vaccine hesitancy in Sri Lanka.
To support the safe reopening of tourism, Intrepid is introducing mandatory vaccination for all travellers and tour leaders from 1 September 2021 (excluding Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands due to their low-risk environments).
More than 94 per cent of travellers on Intrepid trips since May 2021 have been fully vaccinated.
Intrepid heads to South Australia
The adventure travel player has also launched a new South Australian itinerary to its growing collection of local tours.
Designed to celebrate First Nations histories and culture, the new tour marks Intrepid’s continuing commitment to developing trips that provide Aussies with opportunities to discover their own backyard, with the company now offering a total of 71 domestic trips.
Intrepid Group’s chief commercial officer, Brett Mitchell, said: “After a year of uncertainty, we wanted to provide an opportunity for Australian’s to reconnect with the environment, all while trying something new, getting active and supporting local communities who have been left struggling.
“We have noticed more Australians craving adventure. This new trip provides Aussies with the opportunity to discover South Australia’s most diverse landscapes, histories, cultures and food.”