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Ryanair, Eurostar and Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour among the winners of Peta's first animal cruelty-free travel awards

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As demand for vegan and animal-friendly holidays increases, animal rights charity Peta has announced the winners of its inaugural travel awards.

The organisation scrutinised travel providers, transport companies, hotels, attractions and products to highlight those that best promote exploitative-free experiences. These range from food to hotel interiors and holidays that actively promote animal welfare by encouraging its customers to shun forced encounters such as elephant rides and marine park encounters.

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The vegan food movement is gaining momentum and as such, travel companies are increasingly offering special dishes and menus. Ryanair won the Peta Award for Best In-Flight Meal for its vegan lasagne (topped with dairy-free cheese), while Virgin Trains was named Best Train Line for Vegan Food and Vegan Travel as Best Cruise and Malmaison the Best Hotel Chain.

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Saorsa 1875 is the UK's first vegan hotel

Saorsa 1875 is a luxury hotel in Perthshire that only opened this summer, but picked up the award for Best Luxury Hotel. The 100 per cent vegan hotel offers everything from a plant-based menu to wool-free bedding and cruelty-free toiletries. Needless to say, it offers dogs a warm welcome too.

Whale of a time?

Online platform Booking.com was recognised for its wide-ranging animal welfare policy that includes a refusal to contract or offer wild animal shows, animal fights or races, elephant rides, aquaria or attractions that offer direct contact with certain wild animals. British Airways Holidays picked up an award for its stand against attractions that hold wild animals captive, such as marine parks.

Earlier this year, Virgin Holidays stopped selling tickets to SeaWorld and similar attractions with captive cetaceans. Peta is calling on Tui, one of the world's biggest tour operators, to do the same.

Responsible Travel has taken a hard line against animal encounters for many years and won the award for Best Travel Company. It refuses to promote zoos, marine parks and exploitative encounters.

Peta campaigns for tourists to avoid animal encounters such as elephant rides (Photo: AFP/Getty)

In terms of experience, the Warner Bros Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, was acknowledged for its decision to stop featuring live animals such as owls, as part of the tour. Eurostar was named Best Travel Experience for its vegan menu and immersive Eurostar Odyssey virtual reality underwater adventure as it darts through the Channel Tunnel.

Peta Travel Awards 2019: The Winners

Best In-Flight Meal: Ryanair Best Train Line for Vegan Food: Virgin Trains Best Cruise for Vegan Food: Vegan Travel Best Hotel Chain for Vegan Food: Malmaison Best Luxury Hotel: Saorsa 1875 Best Travel Company: Responsible Travel Progress for Animals: British Airways Holidays Advancement of the Year: Booking.com Best Travel Experience: Eurostar Best Attraction: Warner Bros Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Best Travel App: HappyCow Best Vegan Luggage: Lefrik Maverick Foldable Trolley Best Travel Accessory: Thought Torhild Bamboo Scarf Best Amenity Kit: Aesop Travel Kits Best Vegan Sunscreen: Odylique Natural Sun Screen SPF30

What to avoid on holiday

Peta's Director Yvonne Taylor commented, "All the winners of Peta's first-ever Travel Awards prove that the future of tourism is packed with animal-friendly options - and free of exploitative exhibits."

The charity offers its own tips on what to avoid on holiday, from exploitative zoos in Thailand to animal rides in Egypt and India and swimming with captive dolphins at marine parks, visiting crocodile farms and circuses or giving money to watch trained monkeys dancing.

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