Today, Intrepid is taking a necessary step to remove our global vaccination requirement, effective December 31, 2022. This means that as of January 1, 2023, travellers will no longer be required to present their proof of vaccination to travel on Intrepid tours.
Intrepid was one of the first global tour operators to introduce a mandatory vaccination policy in August 2021, and I am incredibly proud of the leadership we’ve shown in not only protecting communities and our travellers, but in helping advocate and increase access to vaccines through our on-going Intrepid Foundation campaign, Give the World a Shot.
Our decision to remove this policy does not mark the end of the pandemic or negate the importance of vaccines and boosters. However, it does reflect the realities we’re facing as a business in restarting our operations, many of which I have seen first-hand.
Over the past several months, I have travelled all over the world talking to our travellers, leaders and host communities across ten countries on five continents, and I’m lucky to have witnessed the incredible joy travel is once again bringing back into people’s lives. But over this time, I have also consulted with colleagues around the world and have come to really understand how the removal of global travel restrictions and mandates has impacted our daily operations.
With the removal and changes to programs and requirements like ArriveCAN, Thailand Pass, and Digital Passenger Declaration, along with the elimination of border restrictions and other certifying protocols, governments at all levels around the world have made it clear that the level of protection you have against COVID-19 is a personal choice. And the ability for us to verify and determine travellers’ vaccination status accurately and independently at a global scale is a challenge that we must address.
This policy change has not been taken lightly, and as a business, Intrepid remains staunch supporters and advocates for vaccines. We recognise the immense privilege that it is to travel, and we’ll continue to act on our moral obligation and duty of care to the communities we visit. Even when our policy ends on December 31, 2022, the protocols that are designed to ensure the health and safety of our travellers and communities will not.
We’ll continue to uphold our enhanced health, safety, hygiene and sanitation protocols on our trips. We’ll still strongly recommend symptomatic travellers to test, and anyone testing positive will be assisted to leave the trip and access medical care (if required). Depending on the destination, they may be required to isolate for a period of time and may then be able to rejoin the trip, if local regulations allow. The full list of unchanged health and safety measures can be found on our Safe Travels Hub.
The effects of COVID-19 are still being felt around the world, and the virus is circulating widely. Vaccination rates, specifically amongst vulnerable communities, remain low and the removal of this policy should not suggest otherwise. But Intrepid travellers truly understand the vital role vaccines play in protecting people from the risk of severe COVID, and even before our policy was introduced, 97 per cent of Intrepid travellers were fully vaccinated. I urge you all to please continue doing your part to protect yourselves and each other by ensuring your vaccines are up to date and that you receive your boosters as soon as they become available.
Thank you for your support. For full details and FAQs visit Intrepid Travel’s Safe Travels Hub. To donate to UNICEF’s global vaccine equity work, visit the Intrepid Foundation’s Give the World a Shot campaign.