Why is TripAdvisor refusing to protect wildlife?
Yesterday we launched a petition and revealed the shocking truth about the world’s leading travel review website. It’s more than just a review site, TripAdvisor actively promotes and profits from some of the cruellest wildlife tourist attractions.
TripAdvisor’s influence on the travel industry is immense. A recent study estimated that TripAdvisor reviews have influenced 352 million trips globally.
It’s time they used their power for good. So we asked them to do that, in fact several times throughout 2015 and 2016, but didn’t hear back. Until yesterday, when we went public and tens of thousands of people around the world signed our petition to demand TripAdvisor ends their sale and promotion of tickets to cruel wildlife venues.
Now they’re paying attention, but instead of agreeing to work with us to develop a way for promoting genuine wildlife experiences, they are diverting responsibility… to you!
Here’s how TripAdvisor has responded:
What TripAdvisor says about promoting cruel wildlife venues:
“The fact that a property, establishment or business may be listed on TripAdvisor does not represent our endorsement of that establishment.”
It isn’t as simple as that. TripAdvisor has privately developed an algorithm that determines how business listings are represented on their website1. This algorithm can lead to even the cruellest wildlife venues being ranked highly in their Popularity Index, or even receive a ‘Certificate of Excellence’. We’re sure TripAdvisor will agree that no place that beats or confines wild animals, forcing them to perform against their will, should be considered ‘excellent’.
TripAdvisor has the power to change how cruel venues are promoted on their site
What TripAdvisor says about selling tickets to cruel wildlife venues:
“…no animal-related experiences that are known to be prohibited by respective local governments are offered on the site. Ultimately it is the responsibility of national governments and local regulatory bodies - not internet sites - to ensure that businesses are operating within the legal requirements of that country or region.”
Sadly, as anyone who works in animal protection knows, cruelty to animals is often sanctioned by governments and regulatory bodies. But the good news is there is nothing stopping businesses and travellers from making kinder choices. Over 100 travel companies have already made the decision to end the sale and promotion of venues with elephant rides and shows. They’ve done this because they know it is the right thing to do, and because their customers demanded it, even if elephant rides and shows are still legal.
TripAdvisor should lead the way for wildlife instead
What TripAdvisor says about whose responsibility it is:
“We believe the best catalyst for change comes from the travel community itself.”
We agree! As the leading online platform for the global travel community we want to see TripAdvisor take a stand and create a better world for our precious wildlife. They’ve made similar moves before, when they paved a path for eco-friendly accommodations with their GreenLeaders programme.
We’ve proposed a WildlifeLeaders programme, where TripAdvisor rewards and promotes genuinely humane wildlife experiences. In these experiences wild animals remain in the wild where they belong, or in a true sanctuary where they can roam freely. We’d even help with setting up this programme!
Please take action today and share our petition as widely as you can
Wild animals, including the elephants, tigers, sea turtles, and lions whose lives are being traded on TripAdvisor, need your help. Sign our petition now.