Expedia bans holidays to see captive dolphins and whales

Travel firm Expedia has stopped selling holidays which include performances by captive dolphins and whales.

The tourism practice has been criticised by public figures including the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, with Virgin Holidays announcing in 2019 that it would no longer sell tickets to such attractions and experiences.

Expedia Group said in a tweet: “We recently adjusted our animal welfare policy.

“As a result, attractions and activities that involve performances by or interactions with dolphins and other cetaceans will no longer be available on our sites.”

The firm told the PA news agency in a statement the change “will take time to implement and we intend to complete the process by early 2022”.

Wildlife charity World Animal Protection expressed hope that the “amazing news” would prompt change throughout the industry.

The charity’s Katheryn Wise said: “Travel companies play a huge role in driving captive dolphin entertainment and as one of the largest travel companies in the world we are delighted that Expedia Group are making a stand. It’s time for other travel giants like TUI to do the right thing and follow suit.”

An Expedia spokesperson clarified to the Mail on Sunday that the company will continue to use “seaside sanctuaries that provide captive animals with a permanent seaside living environment” if these businesses “are accredited and do not feature interactions or performances”.

It comes after Intrepid Travel sparked a domino effect among other companies when it ceased all elephant ride activities in 2014.

Travel association Abta updated its animal welfare guidelines in January 2020 to class activities with captive elephants and tourist contact or feeding of great apes, bears, crocodiles or alligators, orcas, sloths and wildcats as unacceptable.