TUI takes an active approach to animal welfare. In 2013 we collaborated with ABTA, the leading association of travel agents and tour operators, to launch the first “Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism’’ and engaged with suppliers of all our animal excursions to publicise the guidelines. TUI was the first tourism company to conduct animal welfare audits.

In 2016 we removed all excursions involving elephant rides or shows and now offer elephant-friendly excursions where our customers can instead see and learn about elephants in their natural habitat.

Our position

Excursions involving animals remain very popular with our customers.There are also significant socio-economic benefits for destinations from animal-related excursions, particularly in developing countries. Our market research shows that the protection of wild animals is important to the majority of holidaymakers, who also believe that animal-related excursions should meet global welfare standards. TUI’s position on the issue is as follows:


  • Adherence to the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism is a component of all our supplier contracts.
  • An independent audit against the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism is a prerequisite for continuing to be a supplier of animal excursions for TUI Group.
  • We direct significant funding to the TUI Care Foundation to help support their animal protection initiatives.
  • We seek to increase the number of animal-friendly excursions offered to customers where animals can be seen in their natural environments.
  • We train our colleagues in destination on animal welfare in excursions.
  • We support ending the capture of animals from the wild for shows or entertainment.

Assuring compliance

Our rolling programme of audits is the most extensive among tour operators, with over 150 independent audits carried out since 2016 and a further 50 planned for 2019. By the end of 2018, 76% of our animal welfare excursion suppliers had been audited on-site by a 3rd party auditor and more than 60 % of the suppliers audited, have made improvements in terms of animal welfare. We believe that auditing, combined with a close supplier working relationship, enables us to meet customer expectations on animal welfare standards in excursions. Wherever possible we prefer to engage with our suppliers on improvement plans, but we also remove venues from the programme if standards are not met.


Protection of the natural environment, including threatened animal populations, is also one of the focus areas for the TUI Care Foundation. TUI Care Foundation is the independent charitable foundation through which TUI Group invests in sustainability programmes in destinations. Among other initiatives, significant funding has been agreed to protect 1,000,000 newly hatched turtles across five TUI holiday destinations, and 1,500 elephants in Thailand and Kenya by 2020, working in partnership with both local and global organisations.

Stays for Stray

TUI operates in many destinations where animals live on the streets. The protection of stray animals in holiday destinations is important for TUI, our partners and customers. Hotel operations are often affected as stray animals live nearby or try to get food from the grounds. In 2019 we will be rolling out the new and improved ‘TUI stray animal award’ for hotels that protect stray animals by establishing feeding sites with appropriate food, organising veterinary visits and participating in neutering programmes.


The illegal trade of wild animals and wildlife products remains a serious ethical issue and a great danger to species populations. In April 2018, TUI Group signed the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Travel and Tourism Declaration on Illegal Trade in Wildlife, recognising the positive role our sector can play in tackling this problem on the ground. 

In 2019, TUI launched an online souvenir guide in cooperation with the Global Nature Fund, an international foundation for nature and the environment. The guide offers holidaymakers tips on how to buy more responsible souvenirs - ensuring that the biodiversity in destinations is not harmed or endangered wildlife species threatened.