TripAdvisor Just Made A Bold Move That Could Impact Your Next Trip

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Yesterday, the travel site TripAdvisor made a historic announcement. Together with its booking service, Viator, the site will no longer sell tickets to attractions that allow tourists to come in close contact with wild animals. This includes attractions like elephant rides or swimming with dolphins.

According to The New York Times
, the company reached this decision after about six months of research on how these attractions affect the animals and consultations with animal-rights groups. Barbara Messing, TripAdvisor's chief marketing officer, says of the research that informed this policy change, “There are some areas that I think every one of these groups we spoke with would agree on, and there are some that are not universally agreed upon. We just had to, at the end of the day, come to our own conclusions internally about what makes sense for us and what we thought reflected the totality of what we learned from the groups.” Most animal-rights groups do agree that holding dolphins and elephants in captivity for "entertainment purposes" can cause severe physical and psychological harm to the animals.

In addition to the ticket-sales halt, TripAdvisor also plans to launch a wildlife-tourism education portal. With this new tool, which is being created with help from animal-protection organizations, users will be able to learn about animal-welfare issues on the site, The New York Times reports. TripAdvisor’s chief executive officer and cofounder, Stephen Kaufer, says the goal of the education portal is to help travelers make thoughtful decisions about visiting animal attractions and write more meaningful reviews. Users will be able to access the education portal by clicking on the "PAW" icon, which will appear next to every animal attraction on TripAdvisor, even the ones that are no longer bookable through the site.

This booking policy change and the education portal will not be fully implemented until early next year, though the site says it will stop selling tickets to some wild-animal attractions immediately.

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