Ben HaywardOctober 2nd
2019

TripAdvisor will no longer sell tickets to SeaWorld or marine parks and attractions who don't meet their new animal welfare guidelines.

The company, and its subsidiary, Viator, will no longer sell tickets or earn revenue from anywhere that actively imports or breeds dolphins, whales and porpoises for public display, it has announced.

Director of corporate communications, James Kay, said: “[In order to continue working with TripAdvisor an attraction] would have to have made a public commitment either to cease all breeding and importation of cetaceans for display with immediate effect or to develop alternative models, such as seaside-sanctuary environments, for the population of captive cetaceans already in their care.”

TripAdvisor Bans SeaWorld Ticket Sales

TripAdvisor also insist that if they are to maintain a relationship, any coastal sanctuary established must be as similar as possible to the creature's natural environment, must follow a strict no-breeding policy, the animals must not be trained to perform and must not interact with guests.

Any attractions that breach these rules will be removed from sale over the next few months, with plans to cut all ties by the end of 2019.

Dermot Halpin, president of experiences and rentals for TripAdvisor, said: “We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last.

"Seaside sanctuaries have enormous potential but they need more backing from the tourism industry.

"As long as facilities with captive whales and dolphins continue to profit from keeping these animals in smaller, cheaper and less-natural living environments, then they don't have enough incentive to adopt serious change."

Back in July, Virgin Holidays announced they will no longer sell packages involving attractions with captive whales and dolphins.

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Joe Thompson, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, said the company will instead focus on offering customers more natural, at-distance encounters with the animals. 

The decision means Virgin is ending long-term partnerships with the likes of SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and other similar facilities.

Research from Virgin showed that 92% of UK holidaymakers said they would rather see animals in their natural habitat, with Mr Thompson adding: 

"We want to actively support this direction by encouraging more responsible wild watching, which puts animal welfare at the heart of things, meaning our customers get to experience these amazing animals with peace of mind and future generations can enjoy these wonderful experiences too.

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"History will show that this was absolutely the right decision by Virgin Holidays," said Dylan Walker, CEO of World Cetacean Alliance. "Whales and dolphins are complex and intelligent animals whose needs can only be met in the wild.

"To understand them involves seeing them in their ocean home, which is why we are extremely pleased that Virgin Holidays is committed to investing and supporting responsible wild whale and dolphin excursions moving forward.”

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