Wildlife Tourism in Semi-Captive Settings: A Case Study of Elephant Camps in Northern Thailand
Current Issues in Tourism
International Political Economy
Due to improved transportation and communication technology, changing social attitudes towards nature and wildlife, and the physiological benefits of interaction with animals, tourism centred on wildlife in captive and semi-captive settings is becoming increasingly popular. One example of wildlife tourism in a semi-captive setting is the proliferation of ‘elephant camps’ in Thailand, where tourists interact in a variety of ways with domesticated elephants. Though work in elephant camps can be difficult for elephants, tourism provides the only viable legal option for elephant owners and handlers to earn income. This study examines the characteristics, preferences, and values of the visitors of three elephant camps in the vicinity of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and argues that despite reflecting divergent worldviews on, and practical approaches to, animal rights, each type of camp makes significant contributions to the overall welfare of Thailand's domesticated elephants.
Kontogeorgopoulos, N. (2011). Wildlife tourism in semi-captive settings: a case study of elephant camps in northern Thailand. Current Issues in Tourism, 12(5-6), 429-449. doi:doi: 10.1080/13683500903042873