Press release

TripAdvisor ends sale of cruel wildlife tourist attractions following World Animal Protection campaign

12/10/2016

The world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor today announced they will stop selling tickets to some of the cruelest wildlife activities. This decision comes less than six months after World Animal Protection launched a petition urging action.

Over 558,000 World Animal Protection supporters across the world called upon TripAdvisor to stop profiting from the sale of tickets to cruel wildlife tourist attractions.

This is the latest breakthrough for the charity’s Wildlife – Not Entertainers campaign.  The charity first campaigned against cruel wildlife entertainment in 1991 and has ended bear dancing in Greece, Turkey and India.  Today’s announcement by TripAdvisor is a significant step towards ending elephant rides, tiger selfies, swimming with dolphins and other forms of cruel tourist entertainment.

World Animal Protection will join other animal welfare, conservation and tourism industry experts to work with TripAdvisor as they launch a new education portal linked to every animal attraction listing on TripAdvisor. The portal will educate millions of tourists about the cruelties wild animals face for tourism entertainment. According to an independent polling commissioned by World Animal Protection, 85% per cent of people agreed that wild animals belong in the and three quarters said it was wrong for people to make an income from using wild animals for entertainment if the animals suffer.

One of the popular holiday activities TripAdvisor will stop selling tickets for are elephant rides, an activity World Animal Protection has revealed to be one of the world’s cruellest forms of wildlife tourist entertainment.  Baby elephants are often taken from their mothers when young, beaten, and endure ongoing physical and psychological abuse during training to make them submissive enough to spend the rest of their long lives chained and giving rides to tourists.

Steve McIvor, CEO at World Animal Protection says: “We congratulate TripAdvisor on taking this important step towards ending the cruel wildlife tourism entertainment industry – it’s also a great result for over half a million World Animal Protection supporters who took action with us to stop the travel site from profiting on sales of elephant rides, tiger selfies and other cruel wildlife tourist interactions. 

“We’re happy to be a part of their new initiative to help raise awareness among TripAdvisor users about these abuses and we will work with and continue to steer the company until all sales of cruel wildlife entertainment has been removed and their users know about every cruel wildlife attraction. Once people know the truth about these wildlife abuses they will choose to stay away because they love animals.”

Although TripAdvisor’s announcement today is significant, certain venues that involves cruel entertainment attractions will still be bookable via TripAdvisor or its Viator brand. They say they will end the sale of specific experiences where tourist have direct physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.

Steve also adds: “We hope it will only be a matter of time before TripAdvisor will also come to realize that it has to end sales to all cruel wildlife attractions such as SeaWorld where the animals endure a lifetime of abuse and highly stressful training to perform. Until then we will provide the best education we can on TripAdvisor’s website to steer people away from cruel venues like these.”

In order to bring an end to this suffering of animals for tourist entertainment, World Animal Protection has been engaging with the travel industry globally seeking for them to commit to not send their customers to venues where they can ride elephants, take selfies with tigers and lion cubs.

Over 100 global travel companies have already agreed to no longer offer visits to venues with elephant rides and shows in any of their markets. Among these are popular brands from across the world, like Contiki, Kuoni Travel UK, Intrepid and TUI.

ENDS

Note to editors

  • For an interview with a spokesperson, contact Kai Akram kaiakram@worldanimalprotection.org +44 (0) 7939 029 006
  • As of 10th October 2016, 558,038 World Animal Protection supporters have signed the calling on TripAdvisor to stop profiting from the sale of tickets to cruel wildlife tourist attractions.
  • Research into wildlife tourism by University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) included analysis of TripAdvisor, to better understand the awareness levels of tourists visiting these wildlife venues. Of the 50,000 reviews, it revealed that 80% of people left positive reviews for venues with poor animal welfare
  • As tourism continues to grow, we estimate that approximately 110 million people visit cruel wildlife tourist attractions each year, unaware of the animal abuse involved.
  • World Animal Protection’s opinion poll was carried out by TNS BMRB 18 September 2014. Read more. A total of 13,000 people were surveyed across fourteen countries: 1,000 each in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, India, Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand and the United States, and 500 each in New Zealand and South Africa.
  • Using the WildCRU research ratings and our own research and investigations in Asia and Africa, World Animal Protection has compiled a list of ten of the world’s cruellest wildlife attractions:
  1. Riding elephants
  2. Taking tiger selfies
  3. Walking with lions
  4. Visiting bear (pit) parks
  5. Holding sea turtles
  6. Performing dolphins
  7. Watching dancing monkeys
  8. Touring civet cat coffee plantations
  9. Watching charming snakes and kissing cobras
  10. Visiting crocodile farms.
  • World Animal Protection is building a global movement to put wildlife protection on the global agenda and reduce tourist demand for cruel animal entertainment attractions. Find out more via this link