Two Vietnamese tourist sites dumped by Lonely Planet in move against animal cruelty

21 November 2018

a seal performs a handstand

Leading travel guide publisher has stopped selling tours to Orchid and Monkey Island in opposition to their cruel animal performances.

In the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang, global visitors rub shoulders with domestic tourists in a seaside location of unrivalled beauty.

But behind the stunning beaches is a dark underbelly of animal abuse, much of it fuelled by tourism.

At Orchid Island and Monkey Island – two facilities run by Long Phu Corporation – macaques are strapped to dogs and forced to race, ostriches are ridden by daytrippers, and protected species such as juvenile moon bears are muzzled in bizarre circus performances.

After Animals Asia revealed foreign tourists were a mainstay of the audience, leading global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has pulled sales of tours to the islands from their site.

In a letter, a representative said:

“The bookable tours on our site that included trips to Monkey Island and Orchid Island were bookable through Viator, and fed through to our site from theirs. They are not Lonely Planet created or recommended, and are not in-line with our animal welfare guidelines.

“We have now removed all of the bookable listings.”

While Animals Asia welcomes Lonely Planet’s swift action to remove the tours, the fact that they were being sold by an organisation with a clear commitment to responsible travel is a cause for concern.

macaque forced to walk tightrope wich chain round neck

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:

“We’ve seen increasing numbers of global tour operators proudly trumpet animal welfare and responsible travel policies, but the reality is they continue to sell tours while having little to no idea of what actually takes place on the trips.”

Last month UK travel agent Thomas Cook came under fire for selling tours to a marine park in China which displays beluga wales and dolphins caught in cruel hunts, while TripAdvisor – the world’s biggest travel site – is being petitioned by Animals Asia to stop publicising tours which harm animals. 

The petition has currently been signed by more than 40,000 people, but TripAdvisor has reiterated their determination to reject the call and allow the listings to remain.

READ MORE: 5 shocking examples of animal abuse available right now on TripAdvisor

Both Thomas Cook and TripAdvisor claim to have specific policies against animal cruelty.

Foreign tourist rides an ostrich

Dave said:

“The vast majority of global travel agents have realised that opposing animal cruelty is good PR. However, they are finding it much harder to put their own bold words into action.

“These multi-million dollar companies simply must start to police their own sites, audit the tours they offer, and take responsibility for the products the provide, rather than relying on charities to do the leg work for them.”

At the time of writing, TripAdvisor sells tours which include visits to Monkey Island on their site. A day trip to the island and wider Nha Phu Bay is available for £57.98.

Urge Trip Advisor to STOP promoting cruelty to animals, today. Sign the petition.