30 Jan

How can travel businesses address animal welfare concerns?

In many tourism destinations around the world, opportunities to view or interact with animals are commonly offered and very popular with many holidaymakers.

These experiences can be enjoyable, educational and support conservation. However, where experiences are not carefully managed, they can jeopardise animal welfare and your customers’ holiday experience. 

Animal attractions and experiences are now a common part of many holidays, but while animal attractions are undoubtedly popular with customers, they want to be assured of good animal welfare standards. A 2017 ComRes survey found that 71% of respondents would be more likely to buy from a travel company that cares for animals*.

Given the different requirements for different species, animal welfare can be a complex area. To help, ABTA produced the first Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism, supported by six manuals covering specific topics. These are practical guides for travel businesses as well as suppliers of animal experiences. The guides are freely available for ABTA Members and their suppliers, please email sustainabletourism@abta.co.uk to receive your copy.

The manuals cover viewing animals in the wild, animals in captive environments and working animals such as horses, camels or huskies. They set out unacceptable and discouraged practices, minimum requirements for animal welfare and best practice. 

In addition, ABTA supports our travel companies to implement animal welfare approaches across their business. Many ABTA Members include animal welfare standards as part of supplier contracts and some carry out independent checks. 

A successful approach requires developing the policy and strategy, understanding your product, working with suppliers and engaging staff across your business. Relevant staff include senior leadership, marketing, sales and product teams.  

On 19 March 2019, ABTA will hold its annual Animal Welfare in Tourism Training. The course will provide practical guidance on how to improve animal welfare standards across your organisation to ensure that you meet your customer’s expectations and protect your business’ reputation.

To find out more, download an agenda and book your place on ABTA’s Animal Welfare in Tourism Training, please visit abta.com/events

*ComRes poll, commissioned by Born Free Foundation, April 2017