If you’re applauding Thomas Cook for dropping SeaWorld and Loro Parque, you haven’t seen the other side of the two headed dragon

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News out of the UK media today is that Thomas Cook is dropping SeaWorld and Spanish animal park Loro Parque from its ticket and package sales services.

And if you’re a touchy, feely, save the animals type, you must be giddy with joy that Thomas Cook recognizes what you know to be the pain and suffering of captive animals.

Which could only mean one thing….

….You don’t know Thomas Cook.

You see, Thomas Cook is 12% (up from an initial 5%) owned by Guo Guangchang, one of the wealthiest men in China, with a net worth of around US$7.6 billion.

He is the founder and Chairman of Fosun.

Fosun owns a 25% stake in Cirque du Soleil, which includes its recent acquisition Blue Man Group.

LA Premiere of Cirque du Soleil's "KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiositi

Fosun also owns an 85.6% stake in resort chain Club Med.

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In 2016, Fosun and Thomas Cook launched a joint venture – Thomas Cook China, to provide travel services to affluent Chinese tourists. Fosun owns 51% of the new company.

As I’m writing this on July 28, twelve days ago, the same Thomas Cook that’s, according to the British media, dropping SeaWorld and Loro Parque, announced a strategic partnership with the government of Hainan Provence to promote tourism to the emerging Sanya market.

And what’s in Sanya?

The recently opened US$1.74 billion Atlantis Sanya, owned by Fosun and managed by Kerzner International, a resort company controlled by the royal family of Dubai.

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And at Atlantis Sanya, you can find this fellow (the one on the left):

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And these guys. You can even swim with them for a fee.

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And this guy (the one swimming in the back, that is):

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And these guys too:

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So if you think Thomas Cook is sending a lesson to marine life parks, they really aren’t. They’re just dropping emphasis on one part of the world as they prepare to support the marine life industry in another through their partner Fosun. It’s the head on the other side of the dragon you’re not seeing.

As for Hainan, there are at least six major aquariums and theme parks with whales and dolphins that have either just opened, are under construction, or are under development for the island. Imagine six resorts the size of SeaWorld Orlando – or larger – in an area the size of the US state of Maryland.

That’s a lot of cetacean parks for Thomas Cook to sell tickets to.

18 thoughts on “If you’re applauding Thomas Cook for dropping SeaWorld and Loro Parque, you haven’t seen the other side of the two headed dragon

  1. I POSTED CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FACEBOOK AND THEN I READ YOU ARE SUPPORTING CHINESE FILTH WHO DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ANIMAL WELFARE – AND I THOUGHT YOU WERE BECOMING A ‘CONSCIENCE’ GROUP – I SHOULD HAVE KNOW BETTER

  2. So disappointed to hear this news. Still shame on you Thomas Cook. I was beginning to think you had a heart instead of a big fat wallet. Shame shame shame on you. 😡😡😡

  3. #BOYCOTTCHINA – Don’t buy their cheap-ass shit! Anything that you want to buy that has a barcode on it if the numbers begin with either 690, 691, 692, 693, 694 or 695 – that shit was made in China – DON’T BUY IT! They have even begun putting false labels on items to try and trick the consumer but don’t be fooled, trust the barcode and #BOYCOTTCHINA!
    A country with NO animal welfare laws and a country full of sub-humans that are a nightmare to every living creature on Earth! HEATHENS!

  4. Thomas Cook takes the welfare of animals in captivity very seriously. We are the only tour operator to audit all of the animal attractions we sell and have removed 29 attractions in the last 18 months which didn’t meet the minimum ABTA animal welfare standards that we insist upon. We are the first major holiday company to announce that we are going to stop selling excursions which keep Orcas in captivity – a bold decision and one that is in keeping with our leadership position in this area. We are taking a firm line on this issue because we understand what our customers expect, and because we believe it is the right thing to do. We will continue to review our animal welfare policy and use our voice to promote a transition away from traditional animal attractions towards more sustainable alternatives.

  5. Thomas Cook you are lying. You should stop all mistreatment of animals at all your resorts. Why are you not doing this? You can’t fool us by what you’re doing, we know what you’re up to. Stop using any animals at any of your sites. Stop it now!!

  6. two faced or what?? Just proves that Thomas Cook have no guts and are just jumping on the bandwagon of PETA in their stupid campaign against Seaworld. I hope Thomas Cook get the same treatment. I will certainly not be booking with them again and have always booked with them in the past. I have never been asked any questions about Seaworld when flying with them, so who are the 90% of their customers? I have flown 5 times in the last 4 years with Thomas Cooke and have never been question on animal welfare…wake up Thomas Cook

  7. I have this question then: Is there an official statement from Thomas Cook why they are dropping SeaWorld and and Loro Parque? If they did not make anti-dolphinarium statements then dropping these two is just a sound business move, correct?

  8. Simply not true, I have been to Sanya, you clearly haven’t. Thomas Cook don’t sell this. It is an attraction in a park next do to a hotel. Customers are purchasing these tickets from the park and not Thomas Cook. #Fakenews
    How can you hold Thomas Cook accountable for this, like saying Tesco is supporting Jimmy Saville because they have a store next door to his old house. Utter tripe

    1. Two things are apparent here: 1. You’re not a regular follower of this blog and its social media channels. If you were, you’d have seen my coverage of my visit to Atlantis Sanya. 2. You seem to be misinterpreting the post.

      The facts are clear and undeniable, and well documented. Fosun, the owner of Atlantis Sanya, holds a substantial stake in Thomas Cook and a 52/48 partnership with Thomas Cook in Thomas Cook China. At the time this post was written, Thomas Cook was ending sales to SeaWorld and Loro Parque over morality concerns about keeping orcas captive, while it was also beginning to sell room packages to Atlantis Sanya. While it’s true the dolphinarium itself may be a separately ticketed attraction, it is is still part of the complex and owned and operated by the resort, not a third party vendor. Meanwhile, room packages sold by Thomas Cook included admission to the waterpark and the aquarium, which houses belugas caught in Russian waters. So a paradox exists in that Thomas Cook continues to advocate for an end to whale and dolphin captivity and a transition of existing captured dolphins to sanctuaries (it’s in the company’s sustainability policy), while at the same time it initiated package sales to Atlantis Sanya, a property that houses dolphins and belugas newly captured from the wild.

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