G Adventures founder, Bruce Poon Tip has issued a message of reassurance and unity to its travellers and to the industry.
Poon Tip writes:
“In light of the recent Coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) I wanted to reassure our travellers that G Adventures has their health and well-being at the heart of all we do. We are constantly monitoring the situation on the ground from our 28 offices around the world, and it’s our job to ensure our travellers have the most up-to-date information to stay safe. If any of our travellers have any questions about their upcoming travel arrangements, we urge them to contact us so we can help in any way we can.
Whilst the current situation needs to be taken seriously, during our 30 years in the tourism business we have dealt with similar situations such as SARS, Zika and Ebola, and in our experience the panic around these issues usually subsides once the initial fear dissipates. We hope this to be the case this time, too.”
And he emphasizes:
“We still firmly believe travel is incredibly safe. As pioneers of community tourism, we believe travel can be the greatest form of wealth distribution the world has seen, and as much as we have a commitment to our travellers, we also have a commitment to the local communities that tourism benefits. This situation has the potential to be damaging for those communities. We hope that our travellers will keep travelling, even if that means changing their destination, or postponing plans. We thank our travellers for their resilience they have demonstrated over the past three decades. This has shown travel can continue to be a force for good.”
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to urge our travellers to rise up and be the shining light on inclusivity in terms of the racism, xenophobia and division being reflected in reactions to and coverage of Coronavirus. As an Asian myself, I feel this. Recent reports of racism towards Asians as a result of this pandemic are extremely unfortunate. Ignorance is counterproductive to public health and wellness.
It’s important that we remember we are stronger together. We are living in dangerous times, where people are divided and looking for division. We must come together as a global community. Coronavirus is an issue for humanity — not for individual races or people.”
Poon Tip concludes:
“Thanks to our travellers for being the change we want to see in the world. Again, we are and will continue to be committed to the health and safety of our travellers, while continuing to support their burning desire to explore the world in a way that gives back to the places we travel.”