Responsible tourism is about respecting, protecting and benefiting local communities, cultures and the environment.
Travel companies around the world profit from some of the cruellest types of wildlife tourist attractions on earth. Whether it is riding elephants, or walking with lions, these activities can cause lifelong suffering for wild animals. As a leader in the travel industry, we know that traveller expectations change, and businesses must adapt. It's time to stop profiting from wildlife cruelty in tourism!
Seeing wild animals when you travel can be such a memorable part of any Incentive Travel Programme. However, you may not be aware these animals often suffer unseen cruelty and abuse. Many wild animals are taken from their natural environments to be exploited for entertainment and profit. You may see animals that belong in the wild being used in live shows, or being offered for transport and rides. You may be approached to pose with animals for photos, or be offered animal souvenirs or by-products. Often, the worst cruelty is hidden from view.
Sadly, many tourists who love animals may actually contribute to animal suffering simply because they’re unaware of the hidden cruelty. The more we can be aware of the way animals are being treated, the more we’ll be able to protect them from cruelty and suffering. Being animal friendly when you travel means you always show respect – for the people, the culture, the environment, and the animals – in every country you visit.
You can protect animals on your Incentive Travel Programmes by being informed and alert to the welfare of the animals you encounter. Make good decisions for animals when you travel by following these simple steps:
Do your research. Investigate the venues you intend to visit. If animal encounters are offered, how are the animals treated, and where did they come from?
Ask questions. Check if your Destination Management Company or Incentive House has an animal welfare policy. Ask your colleagues, friends and family about their experiences.
Make positive choices. Support tourism that does not exploit wild animals.
Eat ethically. When trying local exotic foods, ask if the animal is rare or endangered, which is often illegal.
Think before you buy. Consider that what may be a locally-produced animal souvenir could actually drive demand for the illegal trade in wildlife.
Think about culture. Always be respectful when you travel, but remember that culture is not an excuse for cruelty.
By empowering yourself with this information, you’ve taken the first step to helping protect animals when you travel.