TripAdvisor has announced that they will no longer advertise or sell tickets to attractions breeding or importing captive dolphins, whales or porpoises.
The company put out a press release this week in which it claims that attractions found to be in violation of the rule will be removed from its website over the next few months, with the policy to take full effect by the end of 2019.
Marine biologists, zoologists and conservationists were consulted before TripAdvisor came to the decision.
"The extensive evidence presented to us by the experts was compelling," Dermot Halpin, president of TripAdvisor Experiences and Rentals, said in the press release (h/t USA TODAY). "Whales and dolphins do not thrive in limited captive environments, and we hope to see a future where they live as they should – free and in the wild.
"We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last, and we look forward to seeing this position adopted more widely throughout the travel industry."
The sanctions come as an extension of TripAdvisor's 2016 animal welfare policy. Said policy had already banned the sale of tickets to events that allow visitors to come into contact with captive animals or have animals perform tricks under duress or via the use of drugs for public entertainment.
Halpin indicated that sanctuaries that provide a "permanent seaside living environment" for rescued captured marine animals are exempt from the new policy.
"Seaside sanctuaries have enormous potential, but they need more backing from the tourism industry," he added. "As long as facilities with captive whales and dolphins continue to profit from keeping these animals in smaller, cheaper and less natural living environments, then they don't have enough incentive to adopt serious change. We hope our announcement today can help turn the tide."
Facilities accredited by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums that have publicly committed to ending capturing, breeding and importation of captive cetaceans for public display are exempt as well.
And special dispensation will also be granted to commercial and non-profit facilities that have made a public commitment to developing sanctuary environments for captive animals.
This new policy has been lauded by animal rights organization PETA, who's also calling on other tourism-oriented companies to follow suit.
"TripAdvisor is rightly rejecting animal-exploiting operations, and PETA is calling on tourists and all other travel companies to do the same," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman told USA TODAY.