The Travel Corporation has partnered with World Animal Protection to reshape the experiences the company offers to be more animal-friendly and support the phase-out of cruel activities, including bullfights, captive whale and dolphin attractions and, most significantly, removing elephant rides and shows from their trips visiting Thailand.
“At TTC and our not-for-profit The TreadRight Foundation, we recognize the immense potential the travel industry has to change the world for the better, and we can do that with the valuable guidance of leading organizations like World Animal Protection,” says Brett Tollman, Chief Executive, The Travel Corporation and Founder, The TreadRight Foundation.
This past September in Bangkok, World Animal Protection brought together TTC and other global travel companies including TUI Group and EXO Travel to meet with representatives of elephant riding camps across Thailand to demonstrate a shift in consumer demand for elephant-friendly tourism, encouraging them to phase out rides and shows and transition to elephant-friendly venues.
“We are proud to have partnered with World Animal Protection to work towards ensuring that the travel industry comes together as a community to protect wildlife and help show that animal-friendly venues can be profitable for local communities in the long term. We appreciate that this is an important animal welfare issue that is bigger than any single organization,” continues Tollman.
Many tourists from around the globe visit Thailand to see elephants but increasingly, these travelers are beginning to understand the lifetime of psychological and physical trauma elephant rides and shows cause. A 2017 survey shows a significant drop of 9% (to 44%) in the number of people who find elephant riding acceptable compared to just three years ago. The research shows that more than 80% of tourists would prefer to see elephants in their natural environment.
“Attitudes are changing as travelers are learning more about the fear, pain and suffering elephants undergo to make rides and shows possible,” says Steve McIvor, CEO, World Animal Protection. “Travelers are increasingly demanding options that better align with their values. With the help of global travel partners like TTC, we can prove that elephant-friendly attractions, those without forced and dangerous interactions with wildlife, make both ethical and financial sense for local venues.”