Background

TUI takes an active approach to animal welfare. In 2013 TUI collaborated with ABTA to launch the first “Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism“ and in the same year TUI engaged with suppliers of all our animal excursions to publicize the guidelines and to begin the process of auditing, the first tourism company to do so.

Since 2013 we have continued to closely follow research, particularly on what is acceptable and comfortable for animals in captivity. Based on this work, and specifically our work partnering with World Animal Protection and Born Free Foundation, we took the decision in July 2015 to withdraw from elephant riding and elephant shows across all TUI operations. Our full withdrawal from such activities was achieved in 2016 and we now offer elephant friendly excursions where our customers can see and learn about elephants in a way that avoids unnatural behaviors.

Protection of the natural environment, including threatened animal populations, is also one of the three key 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 by 2020, working in partnership with both local and global organisations.


Our position today

Excursions that allow people to see and learn about animals remain very popular with our customers. There are also significant socio-economic benefits from animal-related excursions. This benefit is particularly relevant in developing countries where we are committed to help communities thrive.  Furthermore, market research we commissioned in January 2017 showed that around 70% of holidaymakers wanted the option of excursions to dolphin and whale shows. Of those holidaymakers, 60% said they would only feel that way if those attractions met global animal welfare standards. This customer viewpoint and our long term focus on animal welfare issues define the position we hold today:

  • Adherence to the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism is a component of all supplier contracts.
  • Our auditing programme continues to prioritise an independent audit against the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism as a prerequisite for continuing to be a supplier of animal excursions for TUI Group. 
  • We continue to direct significant levels of funding into animal protection initiatives through TUI Care Foundation.
  • We seek to more frequently offer our customers animal friendly excursions where they can see animals in the most natural of environments.
  • We continue our extensive programme of training on animal welfare issues among employees.

We support an end to the capture from the wild of animals for shows or entertainment.


Auditing

As outlined above, suppliers of TUI excursions featuring animals have been asked to comply with, and be audited against, the ABTA guidelines (Global Animal Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism) since 2013. Many of these suppliers have been long term partners who remain as dedicated as we are to driving continuous improvement. We have a rolling programme of audits, the most extensive among tour operators, with in excess of 100 audits planned over the 2016-17 seasons in destinations in which we have a presence. We believe that through audit and a close working relationship with our suppliers we can meet customer expectation on the animal welfare standards in excursions.

Going forward it is our intention to continue the auditing of our suppliers, continue to invest in research and initiatives in destinations where animal populations are threatened and find collaborative investment opportunities with partners in order that we continue to inform our knowledge on animal welfare and drive progress.