TripAdvisor announces commitment to improve Wildlife Welfare Standards in tourism

TripAdvisor announces commitment to improve Wildlife Welfare Standards in tourism

TripAdvisor announces commitment to improve Wildlife Welfare Standards in tourism with industry-leading education effort and booking policy changes

Hundreds of animal attractions where tourists come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species will no longer be bookable on TripAdvisor or Viator

With endorsements from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), TripAdvisor to create a wildlife tourism education portal for travellers in partnership with top accredited trade groups, conservation organizations, academic experts, tourism experts, and animal welfare groups, including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, ABTA – The Travel Association, Global Wildlife Conservation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Sustainable Travel International, The Tread Right Foundation, Think Elephants International, Asian Elephant Support, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and World Animal Protection (WAP)

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today announced its commitment to launch a set of industry-leading actions, including changes to its policy on selling tickets to animal attractions, and the launch of a new education portal to help inform travellers about the standards of care for wild, captive, and endangered species in tourism and their interactions with tourists, and their impact on wildlife conservation.

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

While some attractions will cease booking through TripAdvisor immediately, the company plans to have both the educational portal and booking policy changes fully-launched and implemented by early 2017.

TripAdvisor is also committing to the development and launch of an education portal linked to every animal attraction listing on TripAdvisor. The portal will provide links and information on animal welfare practices, helping travellers 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. In turn, TripAdvisor believes that better reviews will enable travellers to make more informed booking decisions and improve the standards of animal care in tourism worldwide.

The content on TripAdvisor’s education portal will provide numerous points of view from experts in the fields of sustainable tourism, animal welfare, wild life conservation and the zoological and marine sciences. Initial partners include the trade accreditation organization Association of Zoos and Aquariums; the conservation organization Global Wildlife Conservation, Asian Elephant Support and Think Elephants International; tourism experts ABTA – The Travel Association, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Sustainable Travel International and the Tread Right Foundation; academic leaders in the sciences of animal conservation and animal welfare like Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU)and animal welfare groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and World Animal Protection (WAP).

“TripAdvisor’s 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,” said Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO, TripAdvisor.  “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. We want to thank the dozens of trade groups, academics and nongovernmental organizations who helped us design our path forward as a company.”

“TripAdvisor’s leadership position in travel means we can help educate millions of travellers about the diverse opinions that exist on matters of animal welfare,” added Kaufer.  “We believe the end result of our efforts will be enabling travellers to make more thoughtful choices about whether to visit an animal attraction and to write more meaningful reviews about those attractions.”

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