Online travel agent promotes 'wild watching' instead
Thomas Cook has removed the sale of any attraction with captive cetaceans, including dolphins, orcas or whales.
Customer feedback found that people want to enjoy animals while on holiday but they had particular concerns over dolphins in captivity.
The change by the online travel company comes as part of a new animal welfare policy alongside a relaunched tickets and excursions offer for its customers.
Katheryn Wise, wildlife campaign manager at World Animal Protection, said: “It is great to see the travel company listening to their customers and recognising that captive dolphin entertainment is nothing more than animal cruelty presented as family fun. It’s time now for other companies to stop selling and promoting these activities or risk being incredibly out of touch with public sentiment.”
Thomas Cook will instead offer and promote “wild-watching” experiences for whales and dolphins, which allow holidaymakers to experience these animals in their own habitat.
The former Thomas Cook business removed sales of any attraction with captive orcas in 2018 – a year before its collapse. The new digital business, established in 2020, has gone further, removing ticket sales from any facilities where dolphins and whales are held in captivity.
The move is part of the company’s integration of thousands of activities and attractions to its platform that will allow customers to book days out and tours all over the world.
Chief executive Alan French added: “We know that for our customers going to a zoo or an aqua park is an important part of their holiday and we only want to offer those experiences when we’re confident they abide by the highest welfare standards and are not built on animal suffering.
“We have taken the decision to offer only wild-watching experiences for whales and dolphins to help our customers experience these intelligent and sociable animals in their natural habitat.
“We have been seeing a strong return to bookings following the pandemic, but also a decline in the demand for activities that harm the environment or animals. Our customers care about these issues, and we are proud to be matching those sentiments. It has been an easy decision to make.”