Dear Mr. Kaufer:
On behalf of IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, and our more than 6,000 members around the world, we are deeply disappointed and concerned about TripAdvisor’s recent decision to no longer sell tickets to attractions with cetaceans in professional care. The decision does not consider the ongoing and unwavering commitment to the overall welfare, health and care of these animals.
IAAPA has many members around the world with animals in their care. These members are accredited, well-managed facilities that provide up-close and personal experiences for their guests. These amazing experiences help inspire and educate people of all ages so they can develop an appreciation and respect for animals and the natural world.
Zoos, aquariums and facilities with animals provide people with the opportunity to have memorable contact and experiences with the natural world, something especially important for those who live in cities and urban surroundings. Such visits provide once-in-a-lifetime encounters and memories that leave a lasting impression. They help inspire people to act and make efforts to preserve and conserve our natural resources. And all of us at IAAPA believe people should have the opportunity to choose to visit well-managed zoological facilities.
TripAdvisor should also consider that by not supporting well-managed zoological facilities, this policy could have a negative ripple effect on animals in the wild. Zoological facilities conduct valuable research that aid conservation efforts in the wild, provide support for rescued or illegally trafficked animals needing a home and environmental disaster response in their communities and around the world. A visit to a zoo, aquarium or park with animals leaves a lasting impression on the individual and how they view the world around them. IAAPA believes people should have the opportunity to choose to visit well-managed zoological facilities.
We encourage you to consult with global zoo and aquarium associations including the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Each of these organizations is committed to animal welfare and supporting sound decisions and best practices based in science and well-documented research, not opinion.
We also invite you visit and tour any of our member facilities around the world so you can better understand the commitment, care, dedication and importance of their work. We are happy to introduce you and help make the connection at any time.
Please reconsider this short-sighted position that could have a lasting negative impact.
President and CEO
IAAPA is a diverse and dynamic community of global attractions professionals. As the largest international trade association for permanently located attractions, IAAPA unifies the attractions community, connects people to learn and grow together, and strives to promote the highest professional standards for excellence and safety around the world.
Founded in 1918, IAAPA represents more than 6,000 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 100 countries. Members include professionals from amusement parks, theme parks, attractions, water parks, resorts, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, manufacturers, and suppliers.
The association’s global headquarters is in Orlando, Florida, US. IAAPA also maintains offices in Brussels, Belgium; Hong Kong, China; Shanghai, China; Mexico City, Mexico; and Alexandria, Virginia, US. To learn more, visit IAAPA.org or connect through social media channels: @IAAPAHQ #IAAPA.