ORLANDO, Fla. – Virgin Holidays has stopped selling tickets to SeaWorld after axing partnerships with attractions that keep whales and dolphins in captivity.
The UK based travel company annouced that the new policy would “come into effect as soon as possible.”
“Virgin Holidays has decided to stop selling and promoting captive cetacean (whale and dolphin) experiences, as we look to focus on offering customers more natural, at-distance encounters with these animals,” Joe Thompson, Virgin Holidays’ managing director, said in a statement. “This decision means that we will be ending our long term partnerships with the likes of SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and other similar facilities.”
"We will instead focus our efforts on encouraging customers to see these creatures in the wild," Thompson added.
After the statement was issued, SeaWorld reacted to the company’s decision, stating that it was disappointed to see Virgin “succumb to pressure from animal activists,” which SeaWorld claimed “mislead and manipulate marine mammal science to advance their agendas.”
“No company does more to protect marine mammals and advance cetacean research, rescue and conservation,” SeaWorld said.
There are three SeaWorld locations, in San Antonio, Orlando and San Diego. This decision means Virgin Holidays is stopping ticket sales to all but San Antonio, as that location was not on its books.
Offers for Discovery Cove in Orlando, Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas and Atlantis The Palm in Dubai have also been removed because of the decision.