Travel trade associations worldwide should take a few tips from the Intrepid and G Adventures of the world who are climbing mountains to shut down animal cruelty in the destinations they visit…

… because, according to a new study, too many travel trade associations are still ignoring animal welfare.

The study conducted by World Animal Protection found that out of 62 travel trade associations researched, only 21 had a section on their website discussing sustainable tourism.


An elephant entertaining tourists at attraction in Thailand. Image: World Animal Protection

Of those 21 associations, only six discussed animal welfare within their sustainable notes. Even more shocking, only three had what researchers identified as “appropriate animal welfare programmes” – these were ABTA, Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Researchers were baffled to find that only one travel trade association was continuously monitoring members to ensure they followed animal welfare guidelines and a disturbing 16 associations used promotional pictures of wild animals being cruelly used to interact with tourists on their websites.

World Animal Protection’s Head of Campaign, Nick Stewart, said trade organisations need to do better to “ensure wild animals are not used for cruel tourists entertainment”.

“Travel associations must step up, take action and commit to protecting wildlife.”

Nick Stewart, World Animal Protection Head of Campaign

“These associations must listen to their members (who were identified by G Adventures as wanting to change the world through travel) and use this as an opportunity to lead the travel industry to fully commit to protecting wildlife.”


A dolphin surrounded by tourists. Image: World Animal Protection

In addition to helping animals around the world, associations who promote and follow animal welfare guidelines would also be protecting tourists who are at risk when participating in wild animal attractions. According to World Animal Protection, in the last six years, some 17 travellers have died and 21 seriously injured in venues with captive elephants in Thailand.

Click here to read the full findings.


Do you think more travel trade associations need to step up & support animal welfare?