Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones has urged TripAdvisor to overturn its decision to ban ticket sales to Sea World on the Gold Coast.
Jones’ comments came after TripAdvisor last week announced it will no longer sell tickets to attractions that display captive dolphins, whales or porpoises in limited environments.
Speaking to the Australian Associated Press, Jones called on TripAdvisor to “show some common sense”.
“No one does more for the protection of marine animals on the Gold Coast than Sea World,” she said.
“Sea World on the Gold Coast should not be tarred with the same brush as unscrupulous operators overseas.
“The health and wellbeing of our marine life is crucial.”
She also claimed the decision to cut ticket sales to Sea World Gold Coast could “damage conservation efforts” on the coast and “will affect a business that employs more than 1000 locals”.
In a statement to Travel Weekly, World Animal Protection Australia’s head of campaigns said Sea World’s rescue efforts do not make up for the company’s ongoing confinement of dolphins.
“For the dolphins at Sea World, it is suffering one day, cruelty the next,” Ben Pearson told Travel Weekly.
“Sea World on the Gold Coast is a relic of history and a blight on the Queensland tourism industry.
“Their rescue and rehabilitation work is commendable, but doesn’t justify the ongoing confinement of dolphins for 50 years in small, chlorinated pools.”
TripAdvisor’s move will see attractions and events at marine parks that do not fit its animal welfare policy banned from ticket sales by the end of 2019, globally. The move was lauded by animal welfare organisations around the world, including World Animal Protection Australia.
The non-profit has been calling on Australia’s biggest travel companies, such as Flight Centre and Qantas, to show more leadership on animal welfare.
In late August, the non-profit slammed Qantas for continuing to sell tickets to Sea World despite saying it does not partner with venues that house captive dolphins, whales or porpoises.
Virgin Holidays, United Airlines and British Airways have said they are scrapping sales to captive dolphins attractions.
While, earlier this year, Canada went as far as passing a ban on keeping dolphins, whales and porpoises for entertainment. Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK have passed similar bans.