In a move that has been highly commended by the wildlife, conservation and tourism industries, the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor, announced today that hundreds of animal attractions will no longer be bookable through TripAdvisor or its Viator brand.
Tickets for specific tourism experiences where tourists come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species will be discontinued. These include, but are not limited to, elephant rides, petting tigers, and swim with dolphin attractions.
While some of these attractions will cease booking effective immediately, full implementation of the new booking policy is planned for completion by early 2017.
The booking policy change is just one of a number of industry-leading actions in TripAdvisor’s commitment to improve wildlife welfare standards in tourism, which will also include the launch of a new education portal.
The portal will be linked to every animal attraction listing on TripAdvisor and is designed to inform travellers about the standards of care for wild, captive, and endangered species in tourism, their interactions with tourists, and their impact on wildlife conservation.
In addition, the portal, which is backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and in partnership with the likes of World Animal Protection, Global Wildlife Conservation, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to name just a few, will provide information from experts in the fields of sustainable tourism, animal welfare, wildlife conservation and the zoological and marine sciences.
As a result, TripAdvisor’s aim is to arm travellers with the education needed to make thoughtful and informed booking choices, write informed reviews about their experiences, and ultimately, improve the standards of animal care in tourism worldwide.
TripAdvisor president and chief executive officer Stephen Kaufer comments: “Our new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections, while at the same time, we want to celebrate those destinations and attractions that are leaders in caring for animals and those in the tourism industry who help further the cause of animal welfare, conservation and the preservation of endangered species.”