On almost any trip, whether it is part of the plan or not, tourists come across activities involving animals. With a billion tourists a year, which is forecast to grow, the potential impact on wildlife is immense.
In the tourism sector several species are used in a wide range of activities: for photos, shows, rides… the list goes on. Neither the professionals from the industry nor the travellers themselves tend to know what goes on behind the interactions which are offered by promotors as positive for both animals and people. The result is that tourists end up participating in and encouraging activities which have serious implications for both the physical and psychological health of the individuals involved, and the conservation of the species. Sometimes even endangering their own physical well-being.
When the time comes to travel, there are alternative responsible ways of getting to know local wildlife. Rescue centres and sanctuaries carry out a very necessary task and offer their visitors the chance to get to know their animals and the problems that affect a specific species without exploitation or abuse. Similarly, watching wildlife in its natural habitat, as long as it is managed responsibly and following a specific protocol for each case, may help the conservation of the species.
Ultimately, when planning a trip it is essential to be well informed in order to find responsible operators and avoid package deals or traditional offers which perpetuate animal exploitation.
By travelling with awareness or encouraging tourism which is respectful of animals, we take responsibility for our impact on the planet and it is one of the best ways to ensure a better world for future generations.
At the state level:
In 2016 the FAADA initiative had the support of 80 travel agencies and 200 travel bloggers. If you are a travel agency or a blogger from the tourism sector, we encourage you to get in touch with us to join the initiative.