Tourism Authority of Thailand news first on FIR:
Bangkok, 27 February, 2020 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is organising meetings on 5 March at the ITB 2020 in Berlin as part of its ongoing efforts to address growing global concern on elephant welfare in Thailand’s tourism industry.
This is a follow-up on TAT’s first ever ‘Elephant Wellbeing’ travel trade roundtable at the WTM 2019 in London and is part of an extended effort to ultimately educate consumers on how to have the most responsible and rewarding elephant experience while on holiday in Thailand.
Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, said ” TAT recognises growing global concern on elephant welfare in the tourism industry, and wants everyone involved including elephant-related businesses, animal welfare charities, local and international tourists and media to be part of the discussion.
“Everyone involved can discuss an overview of the current situation and how we can, collectively, move forward towards more sustainable solutions for elephant based tourism in Thailand and worldwide, under the umbrella of elephant care.”
TAT has been actively updating its elephant welfare activities for some time and stepped up its efforts in 2019. It organised ‘Elephant Experiential Learning Trips’ from 7 to 17 December, 2019, for tour operators and the media from Canada and the US.
The trip gave participants first-hand experience at Elephant Haven in Kanchanaburi, Green Elephant Sanctuary Park in Phuket, Phang Nga Elephant Park in Phang Nga, Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai, Into the Wild Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, and the Elephant Hospital – Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang.
The trip resulted in the following recommendations for the Thai government:
• Set standards for elephant camps that include an audit programme.
• Set standards for elephant husbandry by suppliers and handlers.
• Create a programme of best practises to support elephant camps.
• Organise a platform for all involved to discuss and exchange ideas with elephant care at the heart of it all.
• Adjust communication for travellers to educate, address misunderstanding, and create a channel to report elephant abuse.
TAT’s ongoing elephant care efforts have included organising roundtable discussions with experts and representatives from Chiang Mai University, the Thailand National Elephant institute, Thai Elephant Alliance, and elephant camp operators on 28 June, 30 August and 15 November, 2019, at the TAT Chiang Mai Office and on 31 July, 2019, at the TAT Head Office in Bangkok, respectively.
During the WTM 2019 in London (4 to 6 November), TAT allocated space at the Thailand Pavilion for the Thai Elephant Alliance to meet and discuss issues with buyers and also organised its first ever ‘Elephant Wellbeing’ roundtable.
In addition, TAT plans to organise similar educational opportunities for tour operators and the media from Europe. It is also producing online and offline reference materials and video clips to build awareness on elephant care in Thailand and address any misunderstandings.
Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand
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