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From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

Intrepid Travel's "Be Kind" Social Good Campaign

Entered in Social Good Campaign


As the world's largest certified B Corp travel company--recently topping Fast Company's list of Most Innovative Travel Companies in 2019 for its commitment to minimum-impact travel--responsible tourism permeates Intrepid Travel's business, including taking firm stances on banning elephant rides, orphanage tourism and carbon neutrality.

The award-winning, industry-leading business commits to helping people and the planet thrive through its small-group, locally-led tours. Firmly believing that it has a duty to educate its travelers, Intrepid Travel launched a "Be Kind" campaign on World Elephant Day 2018, with goals to:

-Enter into public conversation about banning elephant rides, following the announcement that TripAdvisor and Instagram oficcially banned elephant rides, to encourage travelers and businesses to do more than stop elephant riding, but to support rehabilitating elephants and educating locals on ethical animal practices.

-Increase awareness about the work Intrepid Travel is continuously doing to preserve the world's elephants through its registered not-for-profit organization The Intrepid Foundation.

-Raise donations--matched dollar-for-dollar by Intrepid Travel--to The Intrepid Foundation's World Elephant Day fundraising campaign supporting its non-government-organization partnerships with Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, World Animal Protection and Friends of the Asian Elephant.

Strategy and Execution

Aligning with the United Nations Global Compact's standards for ethical treatment of animals, one of Intrepid Travel's core pillars of responsible business is animal protection, which led to being the first tour operator to ban elephant rides in 2014. A large stride for Intrepid Travel, it encouraged more than 160 tourism businesses to ban elephant rides. And while progress has been made, many businesses continue to capitalize on the "bucket-list item" for travelers at the expense of a lifetime of misery for elephants.

Enter: Intrepid Travel's Be Kind campaign. Launched to not only promote banning elephant rides, but encourage travelers to do more by supporting the fair treatment of elephants through Intrepid Travel's not-for-profit The Intrepid Foundation.

The multi-level social good campaign launched with a "Be Kind" short video, an emotion-evoking video weaving an interview with Intrepid Travel's Co-Founder Geoff Manchester and Lek, owner of an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, with footage of wild elephants. The video is a plea to support elephant rehabilitation in sanctuaries, highlighting the detrimental impact elephant riding has on the elephants' physical and mental well-being. The video was circulated to Intrepid Travel's email database of about 1.3 million subscribers, posted organically to Intrepid Travel's half-a-million Facebook followers.

Simultaneously, The Intrepid Foundation launched a World Elephant Day donation page. The Intrepid Foundation encouraged travelers to donate to three of The Intrepid Foundation's partnering NGOs that are protecting and preserving the world's elephants: Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, Friends of the Asian Elephant, World Animal Protection. In their respective countries of expertise, these organizations provide conservation strategies that keep elephants safe from poaching and exploitation and work with local communities to create unique solutions that tackle human-wildlife conflict.

Intrepid Travel penned a blog--which was one of year's top-five performing blogs--on "How We Changed The Elephant Riding Industry - For Good" this blog was a sequel to Intrepid Travel's year-over-year best-performing blog "Why You Shouldn't Ride Elephants" published in May 2014 by Intrepid Travel's Co-Founder Geoff Manchester, following our company-wide announcement. To further inundate travelers with the messaging about the alternatives to riding elephants, the blog explains the thought behind our "industry-shaking" decision to end elephant rides when they were widespread and often described as a bucket-list activity. He writes, although we made large strides, there's more to be done from the tourism industry beyond just banning elephant riding, but helping protect and preserve elephants.


Affirming our efforts in Social Good, Intrepid Travel was announced as the world's largest B Corp certified travel company in August 2018. Most recent, Intrepid Travel was named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies in 2019, which praises Intrepid as the first tour operator to ban elephant rides.

Intrepid Travel's efforts haven't gone unnoticed, last year we received accolades from media outlets like Fast Company and Conde Nast Traveler as a leader in educating travelers and businesses on the unethical practice of elephant riding and how travelers can support local animal protection initiatives. The blog post explaining our decision to end elephant rides remains one of our most-shared pieces of content ever, and our animal welfare posts across social media are among the most-engaged with.

Through the Intrepid Foundation, funds raised for the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society have supported 500 farmers to ensure safety and welfare of elephants and communities; the money raised through The Intrepid Foundation for Friends of the Asian Elephant in 2017 gave 186 sick or injured elephants treatment; our partner World Animal Protection worked with 192 tour operators last year to ensure they stopped offering elephant rides

However, the greatest result is the hundreds of elephants that now roam free and the hundreds of businesses and travelers that have followed Intrepid Travel to make that impact.


Video for Intrepid Travel's "Be Kind" Social Good Campaign

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Intrepid Travel