Abu­sive hol­i­days on of­fer

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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