TUI Travel PLC: Stop Facilitating Trips To Marine Mammal Display Facilities

  • by: Samantha Lipman
  • recipient: Peter Long (Chief Executive), TUI Travel House Crawley Business Quarter Fleming Way Crawley West Sussex, UK RH10 9QL

1) Please ask TUI Travel PLC executives and directors to learn more about the effect captivity has on whale, dolphin and porpoise welfare and to provide resources to their employees so staff are fully informed. 

2) Please ask TUI Travel PLC (including Thomson + First Choice Holidays) to stop selling tickets to dolphin display amusement parks when they could be selling entire holidays to see whales, dolphins and porpoises in their natural environment.

This petition is supported by Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP who has pledged to write a supporting letter and to attend the hand-in of this petition. 

Why should I sign this petition?  

Orca and other cetacean (whale, dolphin and porpoise) species are some of the last animals that perform tricks for entertainment in zoos. They are one of the only mammalian species (along with other marine mammals), to be held in cages that do not resemble their natural environment in any way. The limited nature of such an environment leads to sensory deprivation in such large, intelligent and social beings. Cramped, concrete conditions means that these animals are also physically impinged. 

TUI Travel PLC (including Thomson + First Choice Holidays) facilitate trips to parks where captive orca, beluga whales and other dolphin and porpoise species are currently kept in confinement. Some of these species and individual animals have been and are still being collected from the wild.

If TUI Travel PLC are going to continue facilitating trips to marine mammal captive display entertainment parks, employees should at the very least be able to inform customers about the effects that captivity has on marine mammals and to offer seeing cetaceans in the wild as an alternative.

Do you still want to fund this industry through buying a ticket? And what do you want to teach your children - that it is acceptable to keep large, intelligent animals in confinement and have them perform in theatrical shows?

No orca (killer whales) have been held captive in the United Kingdom since 1991 when the Department of Environment (DOE) reviewed standards and conditions of captive facilities. Revisions were made and even facilities as large (and as profitable) as SeaWorld do not meet with tank size requirements as set out by the UK’s DOE. While these UK standards are higher than any other in the world, they are still not good enough to promote good welfare in captive orca and other cetaceans. It also raises the question as to why a UK-based tour operator has partnered with companies that do not meet minimum UK welfare standards aimed at improving the quality of life for cetaceans in captive conditions. 

The UK public make up a large percentage of tourists who still visit dolphin display facilities around the world, funding the continuation of these businesses and therefore, the continued captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises. However, it doesn't have to be this way: vote with your wallet by not buying a ticket to see the show.

Having spoken to travel agents in one branch of TUI Travel PLC brand Thomson Holidays, based in the south-east of England, it became apparent that some if not all holiday sales reps working for the company are uninformed about the issues that captivity presents to cetacean species. 

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