Elephants in tourism: a good example and role model for the industry?
The general consensus on the recent debate around captive marine mammals and tourism was that it was great to have such a vigorous conversation, but unfortunate that it didn't lead to any immediate changes or outcomes.
But there are encouraging signs elsewhere - particularly with the subject of elephants in tourism, where pressure from travel content creators, animal welfare & tourism activists and the wider media has been relentless, and now with the decision by various operators, including Intrepid Travel and STA, to remove elephant riding trips from their itineraries entirely.
Is this a positive example of the industry working together to shift attitudes? Or is it more a case of a few high profile examples concealing the reality of an industry that is largely unchanged on the ground? Are consumers more aware of the issues? Do they even care? Are travel brands like Intrepid and STA affected by online campaigns or do they move largely by their own accord?
In short - is this a role model for positive change in responsible travel that can be applied elsewhere? How?
For more reading see the latest submissions on elephant welfare in tourism.