Animal welfare rankings revealed: which travel companies are winning when it comes to wildlife-friendly travel?
Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Expedia and other world leading travel companies have been ranked for their commitment to animal welfare, in our new report – the first of its kind
'Tourists are becoming increasingly concerned about animal cruelty, increasing demand for activities allowing them to see wild animals where they belong, in the wild.'
The report, Tracking the Travel Industry looks at each company’s offers, the information they provide for customers and their public commitments to animal welfare and shows which companies are winning for wildlife, such as Airbnb, that scored the highest.
Elephant rides, tiger cubs used as props for selfies, dolphins used as surf boards and other circus-style performances, have all been big business for travel companies, allowing them to rake in profits from unsuspecting tourists, unaware of the cruelty happening behind the scenes. But for the wild animals exploited in these demeaning activities – they live a life sentence of misery and suffering, snatched from the wild or often bred in captivity in unacceptable conditions and separated from their mothers too soon.
Covid-19 is an opportunity for the industry
Tourism has ground to a complete standstill as the world grapples with the current Covid-19 pandemic. We’re encouraging the travel industry to seize this opportunity and come back stronger, more resilient and ethical by protecting wild animals instead of harming them.
Global tourist polls have also shown there’s great customer appetite for this. 85% of respondents interviewed believe travel companies should avoid activities that involve wild animals suffering.
The research, undertaken by the University of Surrey in the UK and commissioned by us, has independently analysed the public commitments travel companies have and haven’t made, and ranked them in order.
Companies assessed were: Airbnb, AttractionTickets.com, Booking.com, DER Touristik, Expedia, Flight Centre, GetYourGuide, Klook, Musement, The Travel Corporation, Tripadvisor, TUI.co.uk, Trip.com and Viator.
Airbnb is the highest ranked by scoring full points when it comes to prohibiting performances, fights and races for all wild animals.
The company also scored highly due to defining a clear scope for their policy, explicitly making the policy applicable to all suppliers, products and brands.
Airbnb worked closely with us on their animal welfare policy to ensure it was developed to the highest standards. The Travel Corporation, Tripadvisor, Booking.com and Viator, also scored highly.
Most companies have a long way to go
Major companies such as Expedia, Flight Centre and AttractionTickets.com have significant improvements to make, with Expedia ranking as ‘poor’ and the other two ranking as ‘very poor’.
GetYourGuide, Klook and Musement are ‘failing’ and at the bottom of the ranking and will be left behind by more progressive companies if they don’t increase their commitment to welfare.
Companies were scored across four key areas:
Commitment: Availability and quality of published animal welfare policies and how applicable they are to all their brands.
Targets and performance: Availability and scope of published time bound targets and reports on progress towards meeting animal welfare commitments.
Changing industry supply: Availability and quality of engagement with suppliers and the overall industry, to implement wildlife-friendly changes.
Changing consumer demand: Availability and quality of educational animal welfare content and tools to empower consumers to make wildlife-friendly travel choices.
Katheryn Wise, Wildlife Campaigns Manager at World Animal Protection says:
The consequences of our mistreatment of wild animals have never been more tragically visible. But, as the international tourism industry looks to rebuild after grinding to a halt during the pandemic, travel companies have a unique opportunity to build back better.
It is great to see large, influential travel brands like Airbnb setting the standard, by rejecting activities that cause animal suffering. Tourists are becoming increasingly concerned about animal cruelty, increasing demand for activities allowing them to see wild animals where they belong, in the wild. It is vital for other travel providers to get on board and do their part to bring an end to the suffering of animals abused for entertainment, by refusing to promote or profit from it.
We must end wild animal exploitation. Forever.
We’re calling on everyone – from holiday makers to tour operators – to take responsibility and put an end to the exploitation of wild animals forever.
Less demand for cruel tourist attractions means fewer wild animals suffer, and they can stay in the wild where they belong.
Sign our #EndWildlifeTrade petition
We’re calling on G20 global leaders to enforce a global wildlife trade ban to eliminate the threats of future pandemics – for people, planet and animals.
We’ve already achieved over 700,000 signatures. We’re aiming for 1 million to make sure global leaders listen. Please add your voice now.