Calls from conservation groups to end the mistreatment of elephants across Southeast Asia have been heard loud and clear by the government in Thailand.

While there don’t seem to be any plans to ban elephant rides across Thailand anytime soon, Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Suladda Sarutilavan says the government isn’t supporting or promoting any organisation that would harm elephants or use them for commercial purposes “without the proper care given to them”.

The new TAT Director working out of Sydney told KARRYON that the government has recognised the growing concern over ethical elephant treatment and is working with groups to improve elephant care in centres and camps.

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Image: Deanna DeShea/Unsplash

“Elephant refuge centres and elephant camps offer educational elephant tours and employ more sustainable methods to keep tourists, elephants, and their mahouts happy.”

Suladda Sarutilavan, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Director for Australia

She continued, saying that TAT knows there’s still room for improvement and they welcome “any constructive criticism and suggestions”.

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In other sustainability news, Thailand has created several zero-impact nature and community activities to support growing demand for sustainable and responsible tourism. Among the activities are trekking, kayaking and home stays.

TAT also recently held at a project with PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) and the Ecoalf Foundation to launch the ‘Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand’ initiative, which made Thailand the first country in Asia to join the global ocean clean-up to rid debris from the seas and coastal areas.

Suladda said TAT is also looking at new ways to increase revenue and distribute income from tourism to local communities.

 

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