NEEDHAM , Mass., Oct. 12 (UPI) — Travel website TripAdvisor.com announced it will stop selling tickets for attractions involving physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.
The change is meant to safeguard the animals, especially in markets around the world in which regulatory protection is limited, TravelAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer said in a statement Tuesday. Elephant rides, the petting of tigers and swimming with dolphins are among the contact experiences the company will now exclude.
The U.S.-based company, and its Viator subsidiary, will have the new policy implemented by early 2017. It said it worked with a number of wildlife conservation organizations, animal welfare groups and trade groups to design the policy, many of which offered their endorsement and approval.
One, the British-based World Animal Protection, was previously critical of TripAdvisor’s promotion of animal attractions, but Steve McIvor, its CEO, called Tuesday’s announcement “a significant step towards ending wildlife tourism cruelties, and we hope it will have a huge influence on the tourism industry as a whole. We will share our welfare knowledge, expertise and point of view on the cruelties that animals face in the tourism industry. We believe once people know about these wildlife abuses, they will make other travel choices because of their love for animals.”