Animal welfare

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 holiday experience. Animal welfare is a complex area given the different requirements for different species.

While animal attractions are undoubtedly popular with customers, they want to be assured of good animal welfare standards. In ABTA’s 2019 Holiday Habits research two-thirds (66%) of people said that they have concerns about the wider impacts of tourism and how animals are treated. 

ABTA Animal Welfare Guidelines

The ABTA Animal Welfare Guidelines set out basic welfare requirements and unacceptable practices.

This guidance and its supporting manuals are intended to be practical guides for travel providers to issue to their suppliers, for tourist boards in destinations, for destination governments and ultimately and most importantly, for animal attraction and experienced suppliers. The guidelines have been developed in consultation with a broad range of experts across NGOs, academia and industry, including animal welfare experts. They consolidate an abundance of existing guidance and animal welfare science.

ABTA’s role is to provide advice, guidance and tools to its Members to support them to implement approaches that respect animal welfare. Implementation of the guidelines is voluntary.

The Overview manual is publicly available below. The five supporting manuals are available to ABTA Members in the Member Zone. Members' suppliers should contact the ABTA Member directly for access. For elephants in captive environments, as well as the supporting manual you can also read our blog. For dolphins in captivity, we are signposting Members to a range of existing evidence and arguments. 
For non-ABTA Members the guidelines are also available to purchase.

ABTA Animal Welfare Guidelines

How ABTA Members are using the ABTA Animal Welfare Guidelines

ABTA provides practical guidance for its Members and their suppliers, to encourage good practice in animal protection and welfare by providing businesses with knowledge and guidance. 

Many ABTA Members are implementing animal welfare policies, by taking actions such as assessing attractions and including animal welfare standards as part of supplier contracts. Travel companies are also using these guidelines, including the unacceptable practices, to inform what to sell and what to avoid. The industry has made good progress in recent years, and will continue to learn and respond as new issues come to light.