Tourism

Thailand debuts elephant-friendly tourism

It’s only Tuesday, but already our week has been made.

Conversations around ethical animal tourism hit a fever pitch last week, and are seemingly having a ripple effect globally.

Happy Elephant Care Valley, in Chiang Mai, Thailand is about to embark on a landmark agreement to transition to become a truly elephant-friendly venue.

This move will end all contact between tourists and elephants at the camp, to meet the growing demand for responsible elephant experiences.

This is really good news for all of our Elephantidae friends everyone.

The transformation of the venue is pioneered by animal welfare charity, World Animal Protection as part of a coalition of leaders in the travel industry, including TUI Group, The Travel Corporation, Intrepid Group, G Adventures, EXO Travel, Thomas Cook Group, and others.

Elephants in many venues across Thailand still offer rides that are the result of elephants suffering a cruel and intensive training process.

A 2017 KANTAR global study showed the number of people who find elephant riding acceptable has dropped by 9 per cent (from 53 per cent to 44 per cent) in just three years.

The research also showed that eight out of ten (80 per cent) of tourists would prefer to see elephants in their natural environment, proving elephant-friendly tourism is on the rise.

The elephants at Happy Elephant Care Valley were previously from farms and riding camps, and until recently it was possible for close interaction between tourists and the elephants, being able to ride, bathe and feed elephants at the venue.

This stopped when the travel industry coalition presented a business case demonstrating the rise of elephant-friendly tourism.

The transition will see the elephants free to behave as they would in the wild; free to roam the valley, bathing in mud, dust, water or grazing as tourists experience the wonder, standing at a safe distance.

World Animal Protection CEO Steve McIvor said, “With the support of the world’s leading travel companies, this agreement is a significant milestone for World Animal Protection.

“It will show that high welfare venues for elephants can be commercially viable for elephant camp owners – encouraging them to value and care for their animals.

“Happy Elephant Care Valley is a ground-breaking development for both elephants and tourists.

“It will be a very real example of an attraction where tourists can see elephants behaving naturally and freely as part of a herd.

“It will demonstrate that elephant-friendly experiences are possible, without forcing cruel interactions with people.”



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One response to “Thailand debuts elephant-friendly tourism”

  1. Not one single autopsy show elephant rides as a reason for death, or likewise for any elephant during the last 100 years. The film about abusive elephant training falsely referred to as “Phajaan” is ONE single film made some 20 years ago, by the very lady who earns + US$ 10, 000/day from visitors to the previous potato plantation outside Chieng Mai, which laymen obviously think is some sort of nature jungle. The same ignorant laymen who cant tell the difference between animal welfare and animal rights activism. Meanwhile, when the animal rights activists managed to make people believe that elephant riding is bad for elephants, no attention is given to the fact that over 50% of elephants in Thailand are in captivity, and that the Kui peoples efforts of captive breeding are very important for the future of the species, and their income is from riding. Some 10-20 “elephant sanctuaries with hardly no breeding, around Thailand, will never be able to compensate, should the Kui people resign from their traditions, captive breeding and traditional management of elephants. What is happening now in Thailand, may serve a limited group of people, but may, in the end, have a very negative impact for the Asian elephant in regard to species conservation. !oo years ago, white missinaires, far away from their home countries and convinced by their religion and idealogoes, destroyed cultures of people. If we dont learn from such mistakes, the present fanatic activists may very well achieve similair results with their propaganda. I can understand that money talk, espciellay for travel torism. Still, I cant see any harm in consulting professional educated people connected to nature conservation, and ask for their second opinion, before taking for granted that all those thousand of keyboard hackers fanatics, really are the experts on elephants, they claim to be. Unfortunately a lot of things in this world are much more complax than the present low mark fairy tale, green and good-doing ideologies represent.

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