There has been much confusion around the support of the Protea Hotel by Marriott Polokwane Ranch Resort (The Ranch Resort) and the involvement of Thompsons Africa, due to an article published on Tourism Update yesterday (Jan 15) where it came to light that the Ranch Resort was promoting lion walks.

Craig Drysdale, Thompsons Africa Head of Global Sales, was quoted in the article, however Thompsons Africa has never been involved in the promotion of the Ranch Resort as a destination, nor does the group carry the property in its portfolio.

The sister company of Thompsons Africa, Thompsons Holidays, which deals primarily with outbound travel, was in fact promoting the property. However, since being notified of the dubious activities taking place at The Ranch Resort, Thompsons Holidays has removed the property entirely from its portfolio.

Blood Lions has reinstated Thompsons Africa’s status as an endorsed company, reaffirming that it holds the highest ethical standards in the industry. “The Born to Live Wild pledge holds those that have signed to promoting Africa as a wild and authentic destination. It also aims to ensure that predator conservation mandates remain with the recognised conservation and scientific community rather than with commercial operations,” says Ian Michler, Co-Leader of the Blood Lions Campaign. “And we welcome the way Thompsons Holidays removed the offending promotion, and hope that the group’s proactive approach serves as an example to the wider tourism industry.”        

Protea Hotels by Marriott, together with The Ranch Resort, has since released a statement in response, stating that lion walks and any other animal interactions are no longer being offered to guests.

Tourism Update called The Ranch Resort to confirm the termination of the activity.