Asian Oasis has removed elephant rides from all its itineraries.
The Bangkok-based travel company officially stopped the practice in November last year, in a move it said is aimed at preventing “the mistreatment of the beasts”.
The decision marks part of a major recent shift in the industry away from elephant rides. Similar initiatives have been taken by Intrepid Travel and Kuoni Scandinavia, and Asian Oasis’ director of sales, Soren Wettendorff, said he hoped other operators would soon follow suit.
“I’m sure that this example will be followed by even more companies in the future,” he said. “We might lose a bit out now, as elephants are a huge part of travelling to the north [of Thailand], but benefit in the end.”
Wettendorff also admitted that the company is still having to handle some “disappointed guests”, due to some of its partners still selling the old itineraries.
“Please make sure the guests and partners are provided the correct itineraries to avoid any problems,” he urged.
To replace the elephant ride element of its tours, Asian Oasis is now offering trips to the Araksa Tea Plantation in Chiang Mai, where the guests will have a “hands-on introduction to the art of tea making”.