TRIPADVISOR has announced an extension to its animal welfare policy that means it will stop selling tickets to attractions including SeaWorld.
The move is an update on the travel company’s existing policies and includes its booking website Viator.
In a statement, TripAdvisor said it will “no longer sell tickets to, or generate revenue from, any attraction that continues to contribute to the captivity of future generations of cetaceans”.
The move follows extensive consultation with experts ranging from marine biologists, zoologists to conservationists and is an extension to the animal welfare policy it launched in 2016.
Any companies that imports or breeds the mammals for “public display” will be banned from the site.
TripAdvisor will be removing any products that breach its new policy in the coming months, with the policy fully implemented by the end of this year.
There are some exceptions to the policy.
TripAdvisor said: “While it is possible to prevent future generations of cetaceans from a life of captivity, for those already in captivity, the situation is different.
“For most of the current population of cetaceans, release into the wild is not a realistic option. Therefore, the policy includes several stipulations aimed at protecting the needs, safety and health of cetaceans currently in captivity, too.”
It means that the policy does not apply to “sanctuary” facilities that “provides all of its captive cetaceans with a permanent seaside living environment” – including attractions that are moving towards this status but aren’t there yet.
The policy also excludes to World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) accredited attractions that fully complies with specific rules that TripAdvisor has set out.
However, Sun Online Travel understands that while SeaWorld is WAZA accredited, it does not fully meet TripAdvisor’s updated policies.
Although SeaWorld has announced an end to its orca-breed program, it hasn’t made the same commitments to other cetaceans.
TripAdvisor became the first major travel company to stop selling tickets to animal attractions and experiences where tourists come into contact with captive wildlife.
Last year, it expanded this to include demeaning animal shows and performances.
In August this year, British Airways announced that it would stop selling tickets to SeaWorld.
And before that, Virgin Holidays made the same move.
Sun Online Travel has contacted SeaWorld for comment.