It's Not a Good Idea to Put Dolphins in a Hotel

By Sarah Lucas CEO & Founder, Action for Dolphins | October 22, 2017

A decade ago it might have been socially acceptable to swim with dolphins in a hotel pool. But those days are gone. Now posting a holiday pic posing with Flipper is hugely controversial. Just ask reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who found herself in hot water after swimming with dolphins in Mexico. Or Real Housewives' Bethany Frankel, who copped a wave of social media criticism for visiting Atlantis Paradise Island's Dolphin Cay in August.

Ever since the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove exposed the cruel dolphin hunts in Japan and the 2013 documentary Blackfish exposed the mistreatment of orcas to a mass audience, the dolphin captivity industry has been fighting a losing battle. SeaWorld's attendance rates plummeted in the wake of the second film, and the world's largest marine theme park company's profits fell 84%.

Hotels are not immune to the flow on effect of this social change. Those that offer dolphin experiences are increasingly becoming the target of organised demonstrations and animal welfare campaigns. Dolphin Quest in Hawaii, for example, is the frontline of regular protests from local animal welfare groups, who line up in front of the hotel for hours with signs sporting slogans such as "Captivity is cruel" and "Thanks, but no tanks".

alt text
A 2017 Protest at Kahala Resort, Hawaii. Photo: Phil Waller, Empty the Tanks Hawaii

It's easy to try and discredit activists and animal welfare groups by labelling them 'extremists' (a 'framing' tactic the dolphin entertainment industry has been using for years). But their concerns don't just come from a place of compassion. They are backed up with science and well-respected marine mammal experts.

Studies show captive dolphins regularly exhibit some degree of abnormal or stereotypic behaviour. This can range from self-inflicting trauma by banging their heads on concrete walls to biting the sides of their pools, floating motionless for long periods (called 'logging'), or 'pacing' around and around in circles.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Gini Dietrich
Bonnie Knutson
Deborah Forrest
Christian Koestler
Brenda Fields
Steven Belmonte
Susie Ross
Roger G. Hill
Richard Dahm
Amy Locke
Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.