There is a very strong link between tourism and animals.

In many tourism destinations around the world, opportunities to view or interact with wildlife are commonly offered and very popular with a large number of consumers.

Whilst tourism can be a means for positive interactions between tourists and animals, where such attractions are not carefully managed or do not exhibit best practice there is the potential that such attractions can jeopardise animal welfare or the customer experience.

In recognition of this and as part of our commitment to achieve Better holidays to live to and visit, in 2010 ABTA established both an animal welfare working group and an industry animal welfare strategy in an industry first move.

Guidance manuals

The Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism is available by clicking the download button. Other manuals, shown below, are available to ABTA Members and their suppliers within the Member Zone of the website. If you’re not an ABTA Member but would like to learn more about the other guidance materials, please email us at 

The manuals chart a set of minimum requirements designed to assist in improving animal welfare as well as phasing out poor practice. Recently launched, ABTA is now working with its Members and tourism destinations around the world to ensure that they use the manuals to help raise standards of welfare across the world. 


ABTA Animal welfare vision

Our vision is that all animals encountered through tourism are treated humanely, with respect and in accordance with transparent and robust animal welfare standards which adhere to the Five Freedoms[1].

We work with ABTA Members and destination governments in line with the following six areas:

To understand the scope of tourism’s impact on animals.
To raise awareness of animal welfare best practice with governments, suppliers and customers.
To help our Members develop means to assess and improve performance within the tourism supply chain.
To review and report on actions.
To set targets for long term improvements.
To influence and encourage governmental policy around animal welfare and tourism.

ABTA has also published an industry animal welfare policy outlining its work with ABTA Members in this area.

Raising awareness of best practice

Around the world, there is a great deal of variation in attitudes towards animal welfare and a great deal of variation in the availability of legislation or other guidance in many destinations. This year ABTA has been working with its consultative partner, the Born Free Foundation to produce a series of manuals designed to create a set of Global Standards for Animals in Tourism and further guidance for common activity types involving animals.

Why does ABTA work on animal welfare issues?

You can view our short video below about why ABTA created the guidance manuals and what we hope they will help to achieve below.

ABTA and its Members recognise that there is a strong link between animals and tourism and that there was also, no guidance in existence that could be applied in the many tourism destinations around the world. To achieve the needed progress in this area, ABTA set about creating the guidance series for its members to use as part of their efforts to improve the impacts of tourism and to provide meaningful customer experiences.

What can holidaymakers do?

Check out our top tips on how to have a better holiday.

More Information

The remaining Specific Guidance Manuals - Animals in Captive Environments, Dolphins in Captive Environments, Elephants in Captive Environments, Wildlife Viewing, Working Animals and Unacceptable and Discouraged Practices - are only available within the Members area of the ABTA website.

If you are not a Member of ABTA and would like to discuss purchasing the Specific Guidance Manuals, email

Footnote – [1] World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Terrestrial Animal Health Code 2010.