TripAdvisor stops sales for wild and endangered species animal attractions

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NATIONAL – The world’s largest travel site is making a bigger commitment to improving wildlife welfare standards in tourism by refusing to book tickets to interactions having a negative effect on wild and endangered animals.

TripAdvisor and its Viator brand will discontinue selling tickets for specific tourism experiences where travelers come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species, including but not limited to: elephant rides, petting tigers and swimming with dolphins.

Some attractions will cease booking immediately, but the company plans to have both an educational portal and booking policy changes fully launched and implemented by early 2017.

In addition to the policy changes, TripAdvisor is launching an educational portal that will be linked to every animal attraction listing on its site. The portal will provide links and information on animal welfare practices, helping travelers to write more informed reviews about their experience and to be aware of opinions that exist on the conservation implications and benefits of some tourism attractions.

The education portal will include numerous points of view from experts in the fields of sustainable tourism, animal welfare, wildlife conservation and the zoological and marine sciences.

TripAdvisor President and CEO, Stephen Kaufer says the new booking policy and education efforts are designed to improve the health and safety of animals but also to help TripAdvisor’s customers.

“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,” Kaufer explains.

Exemptions to this new policy include:

  • Domestic animals, e.g. horseback riding, children’s petting zoos with domestic animals like rabbits, etc.
  • Aquarium touch pools used for education purposes where tourists are under the supervision of zoo, aquarium and or wildlife officials
  • Feeding programs where tourists are under the supervision of zoo and or wildlife officials
  • Voluntourism programs for endangered species preservation at zoos, aquariums or sanctuaries where it is possible that there might be some level of physical interaction with an animal

A full explanation of the changes and efforts can be found here.

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