TripAdvisor is going to stop ticket sales for hundreds of animal attractions

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Elephant rides, petting tigers and swimming with dolphins - these are just some of the tourist attractions that travellers will no longer be able to book on TripAdvisor or Viator.

That's right, the world's largest travel site has changed its policy on selling tickets for hundreds of animal attractions where tourists come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.

And TripAdvisor has also announced the launch of a new education portal, which they hope will help inform travellers about the standards of care for animals in tourism, their interactions with tourists, and the impact on wildlife conservation.

The portal will provide links and information to help travellers write more informed reviews about their experience. TripAdvisor reckons this will then enable other travellers to make more informed booking decisions.

While booking for some of the tourist attractions will stop through TripAdvisor immediately, the company says it will have the policy changes - and education portal - implemented fully by early 2017.

"TripAdvisor's new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections," said Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO of TripAdvisor.

wild elephants
(Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP)

"At the same time, we want to celebrate those destinations and attractions that are leaders in caring for animals and those in the tourism industry who help further the cause of animal welfare, conservation and the preservation of endangered species.

"We want to thank the dozens of trade groups, academics and nongovernmental organisations who helped us design our path forward as a company."

The new booking policy does exclude some activities where we have physical contact with animals, though - such as horseback riding, children's petting zoos with domestic animals like rabbits, aquarium touch pools and feeding programs where tourists are under the supervision of a zoo.

But by early 2017, every attraction listed on TripAdvisor that involves animals will be identified with a "PAW" icon that will link to an education portal.

TripAdvisor logo
(Chris Radburn/PA)

"By refusing to sell tickets to businesses that treat animals as entertainment or playthings, TripAdvisor is making a precedent-setting statement about the use and abuse of animals for entertainment " said Peta executive vice president Tracy Reiman.

"Peta looks forward to contributing to TripAdvisor's industry-leading education portal, which will empower people around the world to make better decisions when it comes to animal-friendly travel."

And people on Twitter are really getting behind the announcement.