Today (October 3), Airbnb is taking action to protect animals by launching a new category of Animal Experiences. The new offering is guided by a premiere animal welfare policy, created in consultation with World Animal Protection.
The online marketplace is now offering more than 1,000 animal-friendly Animal Experiences that consider the well-being of animals across 58 countries.
Airbnb Animal Experiences are activities organised and led by local hosts, including small farmers, NGOs, rescue centres, scientists, vets and wildlife photographers. These hosts offer a wide variety of tours, events and activities for tourists.
Taking the lead for wildlife
This new policy positions Airbnb as a leader in ethical wildlife tourism. It will remove and prohibit direct contact experiences with wild animals from its Airbnb Experiences offering.
Following meetings with us, Airbnb Animal Experiences have been designed to deepen travellers’ appreciation and understanding of animals through the eyes of those who work alongside them.
Airbnb’s new animal welfare guidelines will assist in creating experiences that benefit animals, protect them from demeaning activities, enhance conservation efforts, and raise awareness of the importance of animal welfare.
“We know people love animals and want to see and experience them when they travel, but we also know they most want to see and learn about animals in a setting that respects their well-being,” said Alesia Soltanpanah, executive director World Animal Protection US.
“This new animal welfare policy created in consultation with our animal welfare experts combined with the creativity and dedication of Airbnb will ensure that adventurers have many options to experience the beauty of animals in a way that considers their welfare first.”
Airbnb is a US-based travel booking platform with over 6 million listings in 191 countries. Its mission is creating a world where everyone can belong anywhere, providing healthy travel that is local, diverse and authentic, and allowing people to better understand animals while traveling.
Airbnb CEO and Co-Founder, Brian Chesky says: “With technology taking up so much of our lives, it’s easy to feel disconnected from nature and animals, which is one of the main reasons for Airbnb to create this expansion. Our ultimate goal is to offer consumers a fresh new way to connect with animals near and far, so that even busy city dwellers can appreciate nature and animals.”
Alesia Soltanpanah continued: “To have a travel leader such as Airbnb commit to making animal welfare a top priority, will not only help educate travellers on the importance of cruelty-free animal tourism but will also encourage other companies to follow suit. Animals should be appreciated for their intrinsic value and their welfare should be ensured at all times”.
In addition to accommodation rentals, Airbnb launched Experiences in 2016. The program now includes 40,000 handcrafted activities that focuses on providing customers with exciting, local adventures.
The animal welfare policy details
The policy we created with Airbnb protects the welfare of animals around the globe and the highlights includes:
- Wild animals: there should be no direct contact including, but not limited to, petting, feeding, or riding animals
- Working animals: maximum one rider and never more than 20% of the animal’s weight, never to be overworked
- Marine mammals: should never be kept in captivity for entertainment purposes
- Broader host business: should not feature elephant rides, big cat interactions, illegal wildlife trade, sporting events such as canned and trophy hunting, animals performing for entertainment
- Responsible travel: no wild animals as selfie props or any negative training techniques
A better future for wildlife in tourism
Airbnb’s commitment to make animal welfare a top priority moves us closer to a future that will not only educate travellers on the importance of cruelty-free animal tourism, but will also encourage other companies to follow suit.
The organisation wants to see an end to wild animals being used in entertainment.
Many people are not yet aware that an experience they view as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity can mean a lifetime of suffering for the animals involved.
If you can hug, ride, touch or take a photo with a wild animal, it is very likely there is cruelty involved.
We will continue to work closely with Airbnb and its communities and hosts to ensure the well-being of animals in all of the Experiences on Airbnb.
Learn more about our work moving the travel industry here.