TripAdvisor stops profiting from Vietnam’s cruellest tour operator after pressure from activists

07 February 2019

“Eco-tourism” facility which forces protected species to perform tricks for entertainment has been dropped by world’s biggest travel site.

When Animals Asia investigated Long Phu Corporation – a tour operator based in Nha Trang, Vietnam – the charity discovered protected species such as bears,

Macaques and elephants kept in atrocious conditions and openly forced to perform for tourists.

Foreign tourists were found to be a mainstay of the business model, participating in cruel elephant and ostrich rides and even taking part in circus-type shows with bears.

Animals Asia’s opposition prompted travel guide publisher Lonely Planet to end ticket sales to Long Phu’s Orchid and Monkey Island sites in 2018 and now TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, has followed suit by ending ticket sales to Monkey Island.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Department Manager Nguyen Tam Thanh said:

“International tour operators ending their complicity in cruel tourism activities is absolutely vital if we are to stop the poaching and abuse of Vietnam’s wildlife. Connections to prestigious global brands give legitimacy to these activities, encourage travellers to attend and give a financial incentive to companies to continue.”

foreign child with masked juvenile moon bear on stage

In an email to a Facebook group called Vietnam Animal Eyes, TripAdvisor’s James Kay confirmed his company had “ceased all ticket sales” to the cruel attraction.

TripAdvisor is an American company with a market capitalisation of US$8.5 billion.

PETITION: Ask TripAdvisor to stop promoting and profitting from animal cruelty

While Vietnamese law does not prohibit animal performance, protected species such as bears, macaques and elephants are protected from exploitation including poaching and trading for profit.

However, despite a report by Animals Asia showing the widespread abuse of six protected species at circuses across the country, the authorities have yet to take punitive action against any facilities and the performances continue.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:

“The authorities are failing to tackle the very serious wildlife crimes behind Vietnam’s animal circus problem. We’ve been shown paperwork claiming juvenile moon bears have been obtained legally, but no facility or official has been able to explain how this is possible. The poaching and sale of bears for exploitation is illegal and no facility has the ability to breed, so where are they coming from? We still haven’t received an answer.

“But this isn’t a purely domestic issue. Many of the attendees at these shows are foreign tourists and multi-national businesses are profiting from ticket sales. We’re starting to see international tour companies take some action to end their complicity in suspected wildlife crime and clear animal cruelty, and this will go a long way to delegitimising the industry and ending the suffering.”

In 2018, a cruel monkey circus within a UNESCO-accredited reserve was ended after a long-running campaign by Animals Asia and a petition signed by over 40,000 people.

Sadly, the macaques are owned by Long Phu Corporation and are likely still being forced to perform at tourist sites owned by the company. 

PETITION: Ask Vietnam to end cruel wild animal performances