Abusive holidays on offer
dolphins and orangutans were being held captive so tourists could ride, swim, and take selfies with them on Bali – where 86,000 Kiwis holidayed last year.
In 2016 World Animal Protection asked tourists to avoid ‘‘tiger tourism’’ and, after inquiries made by our reporters at that time found one Auckland travel agency, YOU Travel, was willing to sell a tour, the organisation has formed a working relationship with House of Travel and YOU Travel to formulate their tour policies.
This week Sunday News visited four Flight Centres and three Helloworld stores to see if wildlife attractions would be recommended by travel agents.
Two stores still recommended wildlife tours – something senior campaign manager Ben Pearson said was disappointing.
‘‘World Animal Protection is urging New Zealand tourists to avoid these venues, and boycott the travel companies that promote, sell and support them. If you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, the chances are that animal has been subjected to cruelty.’’
Animal rights activist Richie Hardcore joined the calls.
‘‘If western tourists didn’t go and pay money to enjoy those experiences where we know animals haven’t been treated ethically then the market wouldn’t be there,’’ Hardcore said.
In Auckland, Flight Centre New Lynn staff recommended wildlife attractions immediately and suggested Bali Safari and Marine Park.
Helloworld New Lynn didn’t express any concern for animalrelated activities, recommending temples, beaches, elephants and monkeys as favoured tourist attractions.
Flight Centre and Helloworld stores in Ponsonby said they were unable to sell wildlife tours, but recommended the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali.
Helloworld Ponsonby said attractions involving elephants and cock-fighting were available, but would have to be booked in Bali.
In Christchurch, staff at Flight Centre and Helloworld said they didn’t sell wildlife tours for ethical reasons.
Flight Centre general manager Sean Berenson said the company was committed to promoting and selling travel that respected animal welfare.
Flight Centre was a member of the United Nations Global Compact – an initiative which encouraged businesses to have sustainable and socially responsible policies.
‘‘When it comes to animal cruelty we believe it’s important to take a holistic view and to engage proactively with suppliers to seek better outcomes in the short-term, both for the animals and for the local communities,’’ Berenson said.
Helloworld marketing general manager David Libeau said the company did not support or promote tours to wildlife parks.
Helloworld was in the process of reviewing its policies around ethical tourism.
Store compliance was expected on that policy and it was possible the New Lynn store, recently opened, wasn’t present at discussions, he said. ‘‘We will be in contact with Helloworld Lynnmall to discuss this issue with them. I would hope this is an isolated incident in our network which we will act on immediately to rectify.’’
World Animal Protection’s report highlighted cruelty in how animals were treated and chained in attractions.