Campaigners for animal rights have welcomed a shift in strategy at TripAdvisor for selling tickets to animal-based attractions - but say the brand should go further.
TripAdvisor says it will no longer sell tickets to specific "experiences where captive wild or endangered animals are forced to perform demeaning tricks or other unnatural behaviors".
It adds that the policy includes attractions that have animals that are "featured as part of a live circus or stage entertainment act in a demeaning manner".
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TripAdvisor has made a number of other changes to the policy, including allowing feeding/touching exercises between animals and guests of an attraction if under supervision of trained officials and if animals "have the freedom to disengage".
Educational experiences will also now be permitted, the company says.
Head of industry relations, Sally Davey, says: "Tourist activities have a huge impact on wild animals around the world, and while that impact can often be positive, such as helping to fund important conservation efforts, it can be negative too."
"We hope that, by making it clearer which kinds of experiences we are willing to sell on TripAdvisor and which we are not, we can push suppliers to adopt better animal welfare practices in the experiences they offer."
Although broadly welcoming the change as a "step forward", one of the campaign groups that has pushed TripAdvisor in recent years to make wholesale changes to its policy around ticket-selling to such attractions, World Animal Protection, says the new policy has "significant loopholes".
In particular, it criticizes the continued sale of tickets to high-profile attractions such as Sea World and Loro Parque.
The group says TripAdvisor and its tours and activities consumer-facing subsidiary, Viator, should ban all "cruel wildlife entertainment attractions".
Head of wildlife in entertainment, Nick Stewart, says: "The travel industry is learning fast that using wild animals for entertainment is cruel – these animals are taken from their mothers at a young age and endure harsh training regimes to break their spirits and make them submissive enough to entertain tourists.
The company, as one of the leading players in the sector, "has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of wild animals by educating their customers and only promoting wildlife friendly alternatives, like watching whales and dolphins responsibly in the wild", Stewart says.
"This is where they could make a real impact. If no further changes are made to TripAdvisor’s policy, wild animals will continue to suffer, and they will fall behind while other travel companies take the lead."
TripAdvisor disputes the idea that the new policy has created "loopholes", as suggested by WAP.
It claims the number of attractions featuring animals will fall as a result as the changes to the original policy from 2016 and the new edict will tighten up the rules it uses to determine what products will continue to be sold online in the future.