Expedia is the latest travel company to ditch the availability of certain wild animal attractions.
Activities involving certain wildlife animal interactions will no longer be bookable on its online travel sites.
A “thorough review” is to be conducted over the next few months with guidance from industry-leading wildlife and animal protection groups.
The company will remove activities from its websites and other distribution channels.
A new initiative committing the company to improving education for travellers about animal welfare will be introduced later in the year
Travellers searching for animal-related activities will be presented with detailed information about specific activities offered through on a new wildlife tourism education portal.
Some of the features of the portal include:
• Clear communication as to whether an activity involves animal interactions, with a direct link to learn more about wildlife tourism and animal welfare; and
• Broader education around animal welfare and links to participate in the conversation and take action if a traveller is interested.
Expedia Local Expert vice president Jen O’Twomney said: “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.
“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.”
Daniel Turner, associate director of tourism, Born Free Foundation, said: “Expedia’s decision shows real leadership by one of the travel industry’s most influential players.
“Tackling the risks to animals, people and the natural environment while, at the same time, improving the tourism experience, are not mutually exclusive.
“Born Free welcomes Expedia’s commitment to ensure that, in the future their customers can make informed decisions about the suitability of animal interactions before they finalise their travel plans.
“We are committed to helping Expedia and the wider travel industry eliminate activities that compromise the welfare of animals and threaten public safety.”