We have a cheer today for the news that increasing amounts of young people are opting out of tourist attractions that exploit animals and instead choosing to participate in eco-friendly options.

A 2017 international poll showed a decline of 9 percent in the number of people who find elephant riding acceptable compared to just three years ago, according to the nonprofit group World Animal Protection,

The poll also revealed that more than 80 percent of tourists would rather view animals in their natural environment instead of in cages or in urban areas. 

“It’s very encouraging to know that young travelers are increasingly considering the wellbeing of animals in their plans. We know that vacationers don’t want to harm wildlife, in fact polling shows that most people participate in harmful wildlife attractions because they like animals. This movement away from captive wildlife attractions is about education and working with travel companies to improve policies,” says Josey Kitson, executive director of World Animal Protection Canada, in a recent press release.

There’s still more work to be done, however, if we want to shut down tourist attractions that exploit animals for good. The WAP poll also shows that even though the number of people who thought swimming with dolphins was not acceptable dropped by 8 percent, more than half still think it is acceptable.

It also revealed that although there were some increases in the amount of people in some countries that said they would boycott tour operators promoting the use of wild animals in entertainment, countries such as China and India’s response showed a high percentage of people said they would still visit tourist attractions that exploit animals.

We’ve been closely following this issue and are happy to see that the tides are turning when it comes to the global attitude towards cruel and abusive animal tourist attractions and hope this trend continues. Check out our article about how TripAdvisor has banned bookings for exploitative animal attractions and learn more about taking an eco-friendly vacation in our recent piece from Action Line magazine, “Lessons from Costa Rica on how to be a steward for wildlife”.