TripAdvisor announced on 12 October 2016 that it will no longer sell tickets to tourism experiences that allow contact with captive and endangered wild animals, such as elephant rides, tiger-petting and swim-with-dolphins attractions. The decision comes after a petition by the charity World Animal Protection gathered 558,000 signatures, placing pressure on TripAdvisor to rethink its policies.
Wildlife tourism is a growing industry worth up to $250 billion each year. However, most people engaging in it are unaware of the physical and psychological impact on the animals.
In recent years, campaigns such as 'Wildlife Not Entertainers' by World Animal Protection have sought to inform tourists of its implications. Along with the world’s largest travel website, TripAdvisor, STA Travel and Intrepid have both banned elephant ride sales, and STA has even extended the ban to SeaWorld. Although TripAdvisor have banned ticket sales, the website still lists these attractions, leaving us to question whether it has done enough to promote ethical tourism.
The Living Planet Index recently published that the number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall two-thirds by 2020. Factors found that hunting, pollution and the destruction of wild habitats were largely to blame.