DELHI: Among world’s largest travel review site Tripadvisor and its ticket selling service Viator have decided to stop selling tickets for tourism attractions that lead to animal cruelty. This means that you can no longer book tickets on the site for activities like swimming with dolphins, civet cat plantation tours, petting a tiger in captivity and riding elephants.
TripAdvisor’s actions come after over a year campaign by London-based animal welfare group World Animal Protection and reporting by National Geographic’s Wildlife Watch that said that TripAdvisor was promoting such activities at a time when global travel companies were moving away from them. In recent times, over 100 global travel websites and brand including the likes of TUI, Kuoni and Intrepid have taken similar steps.
While earlier TripAdvisor said that it was not up to it to take a stand on cruely towards animals vis-a-vis travel activities it has not changed its stance. Moreover, it will also launch a portal to educate users regarding animal cruelty.
“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,” Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
For now, the company will immediately stop selling tickets to certain attractions. It will stop ticket sales of all others by early 2017 when the education portal will be launched.
It is estimated that around 11 crore tourists, including Indians, visit wildlife destinations, termed ‘cruel’ by animal activists, every year.
Professor David Macdonald, founding Director of Oxford University’s WildCRU, and a part of TripAdvisor’s education portal said, “If our involvement in TripAdvisor’s education portal can help us inform millions of tourists about the likely impact of their choices on wildlife conservation, WildCRU will be proud; beyond informing them, if we can contribute to driving change in the industry to improve conservation standards in tourism, we will be even more proud.”
TripAdvisor is making a precedent-setting statement about the use and abuse of animals for entertainment said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA looks forward to contributing to TripAdvisor’s industry-leading education portal, which will empower people around the world to make better decisions when it comes to animal-friendly travel.”