The report, Tracking the travel industry, exposes the companies that promote animal cruelty through the tours and excursions they sell, and those that are winning for wildlife, such as Airbnb, which scored the highest.
Elephant rides, tiger cub selfies, dolphin shows and other wild animal circus-style performances are all big business for travel companies, allowing them to rake in profits from tourists.
But the wild animals exploited for these activities don’t gain anything.
They’re subjected to a life sentence of misery and suffering, snatched from the wild or often bred in captivity in unacceptable conditions and separated from their mothers too soon.
Covid-19 is an opportunity for the industry
Tourism has ground to a complete standstill as the world grapples with the current Covid-19 pandemic. We’re encouraging the travel industry to seize this opportunity and come back stronger, more resilient and ethical by protecting wild animals instead of harming them.
Global tourist polls have also shown there’s great customer appetite for this. 85% of respondents interviewed believe travel companies should avoid activities that involve wild animals suffering.
The research, undertaken by the University of Surrey in the UK and commissioned by us, has independently analysed the public commitments travel companies have and haven’t made, and ranked them in order.
Companies assessed: Airbnb, AttractionTickets.com, Booking.com, DER Touristik, Expedia, Flight Centre, GetYourGuide, Klook, Musement, The Travel Corporation, Tripadvisor, TUI.co.uk, Trip.com and Viator.
Most companies have a long way to go
Major companies such as Expedia and Flight Centre have significant improvements to make, ranking as ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ respectively.
GetYourGuide, Klook and Musement are ‘failing’ and at the bottom of the ranking and will be left behind by more progressive companies if they don’t increase their commitment to welfare.
Companies were scored across four key areas:
- Commitment: Availability and quality of published animal welfare policies and how applicable they are to all their brands.
- Targets and performance: Availability and scope of published time bound targets and reports on progress towards meeting animal welfare commitments.
- Changing industry supply: Availability and quality of engagement with suppliers and the overall industry, to implement wildlife-friendly changes.
- Changing consumer demand: Availability and quality of educational animal welfare content and tools to empower consumers to make wildlife-friendly travel choices.
Nick Stewart, global head of campaign – wildlife, says: “People are beginning to rethink travel and the ‘new normal’ as we live through the pandemic. In the case of wildlife tourism, we know that people still want to see wild animals – but not at the cost of cruelty.
“Global companies such as Airbnb are joining us in the fight against animal cruelty and trailblazing the way. Right now, the travel industry has a unique chance to change the world for good and put an end to cruel wildlife attractions.
“Tourists are becoming increasingly concerned about animal cruelty, and we will continue to be a voice for wildlife, piling the pressure on travel companies to make real and lasting change.”
We must end wild animal exploitation. Forever.
We’re is calling on everyone – from holiday makers to tour operators – to take responsibility and put an end to the exploitation of wild animals forever.
Less demand for cruel tourist attractions means fewer wild animals suffer, and they can stay in the wild where they belong.