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Virgin Holidays makes captive whales and dolphins pledge

February 20, 2017 by Phil Davies  

Travel Weekly

Virgin Holidays will no longer sell or promote any new attractions or hotels that feature captive whales and dolphins for theatrical or other entertainment purposes.

This forms part of a revised five-point plan, following the operator’s decision not to do business with any attractions taking whales and dolphins from the wild in 2014.

Managing director, David Geer, said: “We believe that business should be a force for positive change.

“Virgin Holidays is committed to a constructive, ongoing relationship with our current suppliers who care for captive cetaceans and will work closely with them to raise standards across the board.

“However, we believe the way tourists interact with captive whales and dolphins needs to change and we want to play an active role in supporting this transition.”

The five points on the tour operator’s updated position are that it will:

1. Not add any new attractions that feature captive whales and dolphins for any entertainment purposes to the Virgin Holidays portfolio – with immediate effect;

2. Work with existing partners to encourage evolution of their product offering to reflect changing consumer tastes and ensure compliance with recognised animal welfare standards;

3. Support the creation of coastal sanctuaries for whales and dolphins and promote conservation in their natural habitats through a six figure donation supporting Virgin Holiday’s long term vision for captive cetaceans in tourism

4. Increase promotion of responsible wild whale and dolphin watching and coastal sanctuaries;

5. Support international co-operation to end the capture of wild cetaceans and discourage the building of new attractions where cetaceans will be used for entertainment purposes.

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