TripAdvisor and its booking service Viator have halted the sale tickets that involve physical contact with wild animals and endangered species — most notably cruel elephant rides.
The travel website announced the ban last week, affecting many establishments that rely on wild and endangered animals to attract tourists. CEO Stephen Kaufer said:
“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.”
Elephant rides, tiger-petting and swimming with dolphins are just some of the experiences TripAdvisor is trying to prevent. These attractions inflict physical and psychological stress to animals.
The ban is an apparent response to a protest campaign led by the London’s World Animal Protection, which lasted for almost two years. Over 558,000 supporters signed the petition titled “Wildlife. Not Entertainers.”
It also came as a result of consultation with animal groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Association of Zoos and Aquariums (A.Z.A.), Global Wildlife Conservation (G.W.C.) and others, the New York Times reported.
On top of the ban, TripAdvisor will introduce an education portal that informs tourists of animal welfare practices, drawing perspectives from experts.
Meanwhile, customers will still be able to review all animal attractions. The company assured:
“TripAdvisor remains committed to its philosophy that travelers have the right to write about their travel experiences – be it positive or negative.”
TripAdvisor aims to have the educational portal and booking policy changes fully-launched and implemented by early 2017.