Tour OperatorsNew report praises TTC, Airbnb and but is concerned that other travel companies are still promoting captive animal entertainment.

Animal protection group takes aim at irresponsible travel companies

World Animal Protection says some travel companies are not doing enough to ban sales of captive animal entertainment.
World Animal Protection says some travel companies are not doing enough to ban sales of captive animal entertainment. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Photobank

Only a handful of the world’s leading travel companies are protecting wildlife by opposing the sale of exploitative wild animal attractions, a new report – ‘The Real Responsible Traveller’ – has claimed.

The report from the global World Animal Protection group has singled out five travel companies for failing to ban sales of captive wildlife entertainment – GetYourGuide, Klook, Traveloka, and TUI Musement.

These companies, the organisation said, were among those “who publicly celebrate their sustainability credentials” but are often “failing to take responsibility for the impact of their sales of captive wildlife entertainment”.

However, three of the 13 travel companies reviewed by WAP received a pat on the back for their efforts to ban activities that exploit wild animals.

Airbnb, and The Travel Corporation (TTC) “have proactively removed captive wildlife entertainment”, WAP said, while Tripadvisor/Viator have removed ticket sales for captive wild animal entertainment, “but continue to promote exploitative wildlife tourism through images and reviews on their website”.

For the ‘The Real Responsible Traveller’ report, researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK collected information from the public websites of each of 13 companies to determine which of them are selling “harmful experiences at captive wildlife venues”. The focus was on four species categories - dolphins, elephants, primates and big cats.

World Animal Protection said tourists put their trust in wildlife entertainment venues associated with major household travel brands.

“Travel agencies, associations, tour operators and booking platforms promoting and selling wildlife entertainment venues lead tourists to assume such activities are acceptable, or even beneficial for wild animals, when in fact they are inhumane and cause lifelong harm to wildlife,” the report warned.

World Animal Protection wants travel companies to educate and empower customers to make animal-friendly travel decisions.

“This involves ‘choice editing’, the process of controlling or limiting the choices available to consumers to reach an end goal, in this case, removing cruel wildlife tourism activities and promoting wildlife-friendly,” WAP concluded.

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