Expedia to stop selling dubious wildlife attractions

Attractions where visitors can directly interact with animals are coming under increased scrutiny
Attractions where visitors can directly interact with animals are coming under increased scrutiny

Expedia has announced that it will stop selling certain wildlife attractions.

The online travel giant said it would take guidance from “industry-leading wildlife and animal protection groups” as to which attractions would be removed.

Following a review, which is due to take place in the next few months, those attractions and activities deemed to be cruel to animals, or involved in wildlife trafficking, will be removed Expedia’s websites and other distribution channels.

In addition, Expedia will launch a new ‘Wildlife Tourism Education Portal’ to provide customers searching for animal attractions with information about whether the activity involves animal interaction, plus direct links to the websites of animal welfare and conservation groups, and other relevant information.

“Expedia can play an integral part in educating travellers about the diverse views related to wildlife tourism, so they can make informed decisions that align with how they travel and how they interact with the animals that share our planet,” said Jen O’Twomney, vice president of Expedia Local Expert, the OTA’s attraction and activity arm.

“As travellers, it is important that we know more about the places we go, the activities we engage in, and the ways in which we leave lasting impacts on our destinations. As we help people go places, we want to help them do it thoughtfully, and responsibly.”

The groups working with Expedia include the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, Born Free Foundation and Humane Society International.

Daniel Turner, associate director of tourism at the Born Free Foundation, commented; “Tackling the risks to animals, people and the natural environment while, at the same time improving the tourism experience, are not mutually exclusive. Born Free welcomes Expedia’s commitment to ensure that… their customers can make informed decisions about the suitability of animal interactions before they finalise their travel plans.”

Expedia’s decision comes a year after TripAdvisor took a similar decision to suspend the promotion and sale of wildlife attractions deemed to be cruel.

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