In 2014, AWI was invited by Virgin Holidays—one of the world’s biggest tourism companies—to take part in a stakeholder process through which Virgin intended to fine tune its policy on swim-with-dolphin attractions. Dolphinarium operators also participated. The final result of this process, in which AWI played an active role, was that Virgin no longer works with tourist attractions that acquire dolphins from the wild.
After additional consultation with these stakeholders (including AWI), Virgin Holidays has further revised its policy to stipulate that it will not work with new attractions featuring captive dolphins performing or swimming with tourists. It will also support the creation of seaside sanctuaries, where former performing cetaceans can retire. And it will continue to work with its existing attractions to improve their welfare practices.
AWI looks forward to continuing to assist Virgin Holidays and other tourism companies in their efforts to refine policies on interacting with wildlife, including captive cetaceans.