TripAdvisor has announced it will no longer sell or promote whale and dolphin captivity shows.
In a major victory for conservationists, the travel company said it will not generate any revenue or sell tickets to attractions that breed or import captive cetaceans for public display.
One of the most well-known global attractions that will be affected is SeaWorld.
Tickets currently on sale which breach new rules will be removed over the next few months and the policy will be fully enforced by the end of this year.
However, seaside sanctuaries that care for whales and dolphins that are already in captivity, will be exempt from the new policy.
TripAdvisor’s crackdown will also include any attraction that ‘continues to contribute to the captivity of future generations of cetaceans’.
British Airways and Virgin Holidays also recently announced they will no longer sell Sea World trips to customers, following a campaign by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).
TripAdvisor is the latest success for WDC’s tour operators campaign, which has targeted big travel industry names.
End Captivity campaigner, Cathy Williamson, said: ‘WDC has been talking to TripAdvisor for some time as part of our campaign to stop the tourist industry promoting whale and dolphin captivity shows.
‘We have had great success with Virgin Holidays and British Airways stopping such promotions and so we are delighted with this bold and progressive welfare initiative from TripAdvisor.
‘It sends out a clear message to the captive whale and dolphin industry that TripAdvisor will no longer work with any facility that doesn’t commit to phasing out this cruel and outdated practice.”
TripAdvisor and its subsidiary, Viator, will end commercial relationships with facilities that do not have, or are not in the process of developing, alternative environments for captive cetaceans, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.
TripAdvisor’s policy extension also takes into account that 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, so the policy includes several stipulations aimed at protecting the needs, safety and health of cetaceans currently in captivity.
The company has also stopped selling experiences where travellers come into physical contact with captive wild animals, such as elephant ride and tiger petting experiences.
Last year TripAdvisor also banned ‘demeaning’ animal shows and performances from sale.
UK director of corporate communications at TripAdvisor, James Kay, said: ‘The advice and guidance we received from the team at Whale and Dolphin Conservation was invaluable as we sought to make an informed decision about whether we could continue to support attractions that keep captive cetaceans [whales and dolphins].’