Who would have thought that one day the travel industry would be in moral conflict with the leader of one of the world’s most powerful nations over a decision that goes against everything travel stands for?

As industry professionals we not only promote and sell travel, we also appreciate its contributions and impact on the world, particularly its power to change people’s perceptions by exposing them to new cultures, languages and living situations.

For Intrepid Travel this ‘change the world’ stance isn’t a saying or “marketing line”, it’s woven into everything the company does, which is why Managing Director James Thornton says the business can’t “sit and watch” those ideals come under threat.

Image credit: Intrepid

Image credit: Intrepid

In a powerful open letter to travellers, in which he discusses recent US political decisions to temporarily ban people of select nationalities from crossing into the States, Thornton called for the US to reinstate “free movement of people between borders” and stressed that it’s a freedom that should be available to all.

“The free movement of people between borders is one of the fundamental building blocks of democracy.”

James Thornton, Intrepid Managing Director

“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.”

Intrepid Travel 2

The piece published to Intrepid’s blog, continues, saying the company can’t “sit and watch” or support a policy that “closes borders, separates families, discriminates against religion or demonises the less fortunate”.

Read the full letter below:

 

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.

Yours sincerely,
James Thornton
Global Managing Director, Intrepid Travel

 

KarryOn is proud to support this story as another fine example of our 2017 ‘Travel to change the world’ initiative. You can help by sharing this story to raise awareness and using the hashtag #traveltochangetheworld when you see good will or sustainable initiatives in travel.

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