SAN DIEGO — TripAdvisor, one of the world’s most popular travel sites, plans to stop selling tickets to any attraction or destination that holds whales, dolphins or porpoises for public display, it was reported Thursday.
The new policy, which was announced Wednesday, appears to take aim at tourist attractions such as SeaWorld parks, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Whales and dolphins do not thrive in limited captive environments, and we hope to see a future where they live as they should: free and in the wild,” Dermot Halpin, president of TripAdvisor’s experiences and rentals, said in a statement. “We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last, and we look forward to seeing this position adopted more widely throughout the travel industry.”
In 2016, SeaWorld decided to end its orca breeding program, but continue to put on shows with the orcas it still has in captivity.
The chain of theme parks, which includes a location near Mission Bay in San Diego, revamped its orca shows to emphasize education over entertainment. It also has dolphins and sea lions that perform for visitors.
SeaWorld’s chief zoological officer, Chris Dold, told The Times he was “disappointed by TripAdvisor’s new position that ignores the educational value and conservation mission of professionally accredited zoos and aquariums.”
TripAdvisor said it would make an exception to its new policy for seaside sanctuaries, which it defined as a “natural body of coastal water, such as a bay or a cove that houses cetaceans,” the newspaper reported.
The policy will take effect over the next several months, according to TripAdvisor.