Anew report shows that as responsible travel becomes the preferred default, tour operators must carefully consider the power they wield in the experiences economy. After all, travelers are becoming much more discerning about the companies they book with.
Sustainable travel has developed a sense of urgency post-pandemic. However, while carbon emissions, environmental degradation, and cultural sensitivity are picked apart at length, animal exploitation through the sale of captive wildlife entertainment has received less pushback.
And tour operators, in particular, are said to be “failing wildlife by selling exploitative experiences and attractions or by operating their business without concern for animal exploitation.” This is according to a new responsible tourism report commissioned by World Animal Protection and undertaken by the University of Surrey.
The study reviewed nine leading travel companies on their experiences involving animals. Five influential tours and activities companies, Traveloka, Trip,com, Klook, GetYourGuide and TUI Musement were pinpointed for “selling harmful exploitative wildlife experiences across a wide range of wild animal species.” The report scored four of these companies under 10 percent for their businesses’ consideration to animal welfare across their policies, targets, and supply chains.