Trade body warns against elephant experiences

Germany travel trade association publishes guidelines
German travel trade body DRV has urged tour operators and travel agents to help steer tourists away from direct elephant contact experiences and towards elephant-friendly alternatives.
The association has published guidelines for responsible elephant tourism information. DRV has been working with World Animal Protection on the guidelines, in the second positive development over the last week for animals affected by travel and tourism.
The information on the DRV website helps its 4,000 members, which represent 85% of the German travel industry, identify attractions that protect the welfare of elephants. DRV’s members include operators such as TUI, Thomas Cook AG and DER Touristik.
The information should raise awareness among operators and agents on how elephants used as entertainment or as tourist attractions often suffer poor treatment, ill health and lasting damage.
It offers criteria on how to identify elephant-friendly attractions, gives recommendations on how to avoid direct contact between tourists and elephants, such as riding or stroking, and recommends how to avoid the offer of performances with unnatural activities, such as painting elephants or elephant polo.
“Putting the welfare of elephants first when advising its members about what elephant excursions to offer is a bold step. DRV’s information is clear and simple to action,” said Kathleen Frech, World Animal Protection’s European campaigner based in Germany.
“It has the power to change norms among German travel operators and travel agents, and in turn create solid, lasting positive change to the lives of thousands of elephants put to work in the tourism industry all over the world.”
TTG Nordic