Great news from TripAdvisor who announced that it will no longer be selling tickets and holiday packages to SeaWorld and similar attractions that fail to meet its animal welfare standards.
In effect, the travel company and its sister site Viator will no longer earn money from bookings to anywhere that breeds or imports whales, dolphins, and porpoises for public display.
Director of corporate communications, James Kay said, in a statement released by the firm, that for any kind of relationship to continue, these companies would have to change their ways.
Kay said: “[An attraction] would have to have made a public commitment either to cease all breeding and importation of cetaceans for display with immediate effect or to develop alternative models, such as seaside-sanctuary environments, for the population of captive cetaceans already in their care.”
TripAdvisor also stated that any coastal sanctuary established by these attractions would have to mimic a creature’s natural environment and would have to adhere to a strict no-breeding policy. Furthermore, animals would not be allowed to be trained to perform in any kind of show, nor would they be allowed to interact with visitors or guests.
Dermot Halpin, president of experiences and rentals for TripAdvisor, said: “We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last.
“Seaside sanctuaries have enormous potential but they need more backing from the tourism industry.
“As long as facilities with captive whales and dolphins continue to profit from keeping these animals in smaller, cheaper and less-natural living environments, then they don’t have enough incentive to adopt serious change.”
Orlando-based Animal welfare group the Dolphin Project praised TripAdvisor the decision.
In a post to its Instagram page, a spokesperson said: “Thank you @TripAdvisor and @Viatortravel for taking a step in the right direction!
“TripAdvisor just announced in a press statement that “Any commercial facility that either breeds or imports cetaceans for public display will be banned from sale on TripAdvisor and Viator.”
“Thank you to all of you who spoke out to these companies and asked them to stop promoting captive facilities.
“Let’s continue to urge more travel companies to follow suit- tap the link in our bio for a guide to do so!”
The news comes after Virgin Holidays confirmed earlier this year it was to stop selling SeaWorld packages, with a pledge to “stop selling and promoting captive cetacean (whale and dolphin) experiences, as we look to focus on offering customers more natural, at-distance encounters with these animals”.
Virgin’s research reportedly show that 92% of holidaymakers from the UK would prefer to see animals in their natural habitat.
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