Cancun, Q.R. — Local tour operators who handle European travel say that this year, they no longer promote activities involving animals since the European market is sensitive to the subject.
Sergio Gonzalez Rubiera, president of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (AMAV), says that those traveling to Europe are no longer interested in activities or any animal interactions where they feel the animals can be harmed.
He notes that this year, the request for swimming with dolphins in Europe is down 5 percent explaining that this is the only market that has diminished. He says that in the state of Quintana Roo, American visitors continue to demand dolphin swims, which has resulted in a national increase in the activity.
However in contrast, marketing consultants report overall, the requests have decreased during the past three years, citing that of those visiting Riviera Maya, only 9.8 percent request dolphin swims (down from 11.6 percent). In Cancun, 9 percent make the swim request, down from 13.4 percent over the past three years.
Last year, 600,000 visitors between Cancun and Riviera Maya swam with dolphins at dolphinariums in the region spending an average of 3,000 peso each to swim and capture a photo.
There are a total of 27 dolphinariums in Mexico, 16 of which are in the state of Quintana Roo that are home to approximately 200 captive dolphins. Of those, 60 percent are born in captivity.