Last updated on April 26, 2015
Guests attending this year’s TBEX travel conference in Cancun will no longer have the opportunity to participate in the swim with the dolphin tours that were being offered by the Cancun tourist board.
Attendees of the upcoming travel media conference, scheduled in Cancun for September 11 to 13, were initially offered to participate in two tours at Delphinus Dolphinarium. Although wildlife campaigners and travel bloggers voiced their concerns and criticized the board for offering the tours, the board refused to remove the tours from their program saying they “would not be bullied into cancelling a tour by a small pressure group.”
However, after being contacted directly by Green Global Travel, an international responsible ecotravel company that has left footprints in various countries around Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, Central and South America, Caribbean, Australia / Oceania, Antarctica and Mexico, the Cancun tourist board made the decision to retract their offer of dolphin swim tours.
The Cancun tourist board admitted they were disheartened by all the attention being placed on just one of their tour activities. Their spokesperson, Paula Gomez, replied saying, “It has been disheartening that some people have put so much energy into just one of the MANY wonderful activities we are offering bloggers as part of the pre- and post-TBEX experiences.
“We truly hoped that each writer would visit the destination, experience the offerings themselves and report freely on what they’ve seen here… Because this is but a small fragment of a comprehensive tourism offering, 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.”
Instead, it was suggested the Cancun tourist board focus on the other wonderful local attractions such as the Cancun Underwater Museum and Rio Secreto, an underground nature reserve along the Yucatan Peninsula.
Numerous other animal-friendly and responsible tourism charities began speaking out against the Cancun tourist board’s dolphin swim offer in July when online campaigning hit a high with petitions being sent, calling on people to boycott the conference.
Other charities such as RIGHTtourism, Outbounding.org, Bemused Backpacker and Care for the Wild International worked to bring the debate to a wider audience. Bemused Backpacker’s Mike Huxley says, “It has been a huge catalyst in bringing the organizers of TBEX and other relevant providers to the table and holding them to account. It is my hope that travel bloggers and campaigners can now work alongside the Cancun tourism board and events like TBEX … and show them and the world that there are better options than relying on mass tourism activities that exploit and harm wildlife.”