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Elephant-friendly tourism at House of Travel

On World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2017, House of Travel signed World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly tourism pledge, becoming the largest New Zealand travel agency to commit not to sell, offer or promote venues or activities involving elephant rides or shows. We want our customers to know that elephant attractions they book with us have been approved by World Animal Protection as having commendable animal welfare standards – keeping the captive wild elephants in satisfactory conditions with their best interests at the forefront of their practices.

This is our first step in working with World Animal Protection to protect wild animals used in tourism. Going forward, we will continue to work with World Animal Protection to find ways to provide responsible, animal-friendly tourism options for our customers.

Elephant-friendly tourism pledge

House of Travel

  • Acknowledges that tourists want to experience wild animals, but often don’t realise that wild animals suffer hidden cruelty in order to perform and interact with people.
  • Recognises that elephants in tourist venues are often sourced from the wild, representing an animal welfare and conservation concern.
  • Understands that elephants used for entertainment purposes have to undergo a cruel breaking-in process, harsh training, are forced to act unnaturally, and suffer throughout their lives in captivity.

And therefore:

  • Commits not to sell, offer or promote venues or activities involving elephant rides and shows. Instead, if offering elephant experiences, commits to offer only those with a high standard of elephant welfare and conservation, with responsible viewing of elephants in wild or semi-wild habitats.
  • Commits to proactively communicate this commitment to protect elephants to customers, to encourage elephant friendly tourism.


Protecting wild animals in tourism

Statement of intent by House of Travel

As a responsible travel business/tour operator with strong commitments on sustainability, we care not only for the welfare of people, but also for the welfare of animals.

Every year, across the world, hundreds of thousands of wild animals are held in captivity and subjected to abuse, both mentally and physically, to provide tourist entertainment. Whether taken from the wild or bred for commercial purposes, their welfare is severely compromised.

Sadly, many tourists who love animals are not aware of the hidden cruelties and unknowingly contribute to animal suffering, as they participate in wild animal entertainment such as elephant rides and shows, handling and taking photos with lions and tigers, or swimming with dolphins.

Therefore, as a first step, we have pledged to protect elephants by not selling, offering or promoting venues or activities where elephant rides and shows are made available.

Now we will continue the journey by taking steps to end the exploitation and suffering of all wild animals in our business and instead provide responsible, animal-friendly alternatives to our customers.

House of Travel will therefore:

  • Investigate our product offering to assess how our business is directly or indirectly linked to the use of wild animals in entertainment.
  • Continue to take steps to protect wild animals used in tourism, including phasing out the scale, offer or promotion of venues where entertainment using wild animals take place, from our business.
  • Adopt an animal welfare policy for our business.
  • Promote responsible tourism among our customers to enable them to be animal-friendly travellers, for example by viewing animals responsibly, in their natural habitats.
World Animal protection


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