Virgin Holidays has announced that it will not work with any new attractions or hotels that hold captive dolphins and whales for entertainment. However, this will not extend to existing attractions such as SeaWorld, Orlando but the new policy should mean that Virgin will not work with the new SeaWorld Abu Dhabi park – due to open in 2022. The park has already said it will not feature killer whales, although dolphins will still be part of shows.
Marine Connection director Margaux Dodds comments; “ Whilst any attempt by a holiday company to move away from promoting new attractions featuring captive whales and dolphins is a milestone, Virgin Holidays continues to profit greatly from those they already partner with. We therefore urge the company to firmly commit by firstly stopping the sale of holidays to Atlantis, The Palm resort in Dubai. In 2014 Virgin Holidays pledged not to add any new attractions where cetaceans were taken from the wild. Whilst we understand that Atlantis, The Palm acquired their dolphins prior to Virgin making this pledge (in excess of 20 dolphins were captured to order from Solomon Island waters specifically for this facility), by their association with the resort, Virgin Holidays are continuing to support the confinement of wild cetaceans. If Virgin truly aims to be part of the solution to seeing an end to the keeping of cetaceans for entertainment, they should immediately cease selling holidays to Atlantis The Palm, Dubai.”