Expedia will remove certain wildlife animal interactions from its websites and other distribution channels in a two-pronged move that mirrors TripAdvisor’s policy change and launch of an educational platform last year.
Over the next few months, Expedia will work together with several wildlife and animal protection groups – including The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, Born Free Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International – to undertake a “thorough review” of wildlife attractions offered on its website.
The OTA also plans to launch the Wildlife Tourism Education Portal later this year to present travellers searching for animal-related activities with detailed information about specific activities offered through Expedia.
The new portal will include information on whether an activity involves human interactions, providing links to allow travellers learn more about wildlife tourism and animal welfare, participate in the conversation and take action.
“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, Expedia Local Expert.
“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 relationship between travel and wildlife exploitation again came under the spotlight when World Animal Protection released a recent report revealing that 77 per cent of the 2,923 elephants used in Asian tourist venues surveyed are kept in “severely cruel conditions” with tourism growth contributing to the problem becoming more widespread. The reported also advocated tourist education as a way to tackle the issue.