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‘Unethical’ dolphin tours removed from TBEX tourism conference following boycott



The organisers of a tourism bloggers conference have yielded to campaigner pressure to ditch controversial captive dolphin experiences from their programme.

Campaigners had urged tourists to boycott the TBEX 2014 conference in Cancun because it offered attendees the tours at the Delphinus Dolphinarium.

Critics say such exhibits are immoral and also bad for the dolphins and whales, while in some parts of the world, wild animals are still captured for the aquarium industry. 

TBEX’s organisers had insisted they would not be “bullied” into removing the tour from the conference programme. TBEX chief executive, Rick Calvert said, “We are not a political event. We are a professional development event. We are an advocacy organisation. We advocate for you, the travel content creator. 

“It is not in keeping with our mission to advocate on one side or the other of a political debate.”

However, after being contacted by campaigners directly, the Cancun tourist board has withdrawn the offer, taking the matter out of TBEX’s hands. 

“It has been disheartening that some people have put so much energy into just one of the many wonderful activities we are offering bloggers,” said a Cancun visitors bureau spokesperson.

“We want to move on from this topic so we can focus on the agenda at hand, which is to put on a conference where bloggers and industry professionals can share ideas and best practices and, while they are at it, get a first-hand look at Cancun’s offerings.

“To do so, we have stopped offering these dolphin experiences as part of any pre- or post-TBEX experience.” 

Travel blogger Mike Huxley commented, “Frankly this is a huge win. 

“But our work is far from over yet. Cancun – just like many places around the world – still offer dolphinariums and dolphin tours and a variety of other wildlife activities that exploit and harm wildlife and their natural habitats.

“Hopefully we can eventually put an end to unethical dolphin tours and activities altogether.”

Photo: Roy Niswanger via Flickr

Further reading:

Campaigners call for tourism conference boycott over captive dolphin experiences

Majority of British tourists against dolphin and orca marine parks

SeaWorld attendance figures fall 13% amid orca controversy launches petition against orcas in captivity

Human activity putting Australian dolphins at risk of localised extinction