The World Cetacean Alliance is a leading authority on whales and dolphins in tourism. Our 95 partners in 40 countries include some of the world’s leading experts on whales and dolphins involved in tourism, both in the wild and in captivity.

The WCA includes leading NGOs working to ensure that the highest standards of welfare are upheld for cetaceans in captivity. Our Partners are encouraging a move towards ‘retirement homes’ for captive cetaceans in ‘Seaside Sanctuaries’, several of which are currently in development. In some cases re-release back into the wild may also be possible.

The WCA is the only international organisation representing the whale and dolphin watching industry. Our whale watch tour operators all meet our criteria for responsible and sustainable practice. Our Partners also lead the industry through research, collaboration, educational initiatives, support for conservation, and green accreditation.

Finally, the WCA runs the only accreditation programme designed for destinations that practice responsible tourism for cetaceans. Whale Heritage Sites are outstanding locations where cetaceans (whales, dolphins, or porpoises) are embraced through the cultural, economic, social, and political lives of associated communities, and where people and cetaceans coexist in an authentic and respectful way.

Established by the World Cetacean Alliance in 2016, Whale Heritage Sites are an initiative aimed at increasing the protection and conservation of cetaceans and their habitats while contributing to sustainable livelihoods, the arts, science and education. Whale Heritage Sites are high sea or coastal marine areas, and less often freshwater rivers and lakes, where cetaceans live, and their associated land areas. Whale Heritage Site status will be granted to those places around the world where cetaceans are celebrated through art, education, research and cultural events; where sustainable practices and livelihoods are continually improved to ensure the health of cetacean habitats and the long-term economic health of human communities; and where respectful coexistence with cetaceans is supported through law, policy and cooperation.