Responsible Travel and Animal Welfare
Elephant Rides and Orphanage Visits
During 2016 we reconsidered our responsible travel charter and the welfare of elephants in Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. For many years we have supported local businesses that rely on elephants held in captivity to generate income. Although we have always engaged with locally accredited operators bound to particular standards of animal welfare, after feedback from our customers we made the decision to remove elephant rides and visits to elephant orphanages from all of our relevant destinations and tours effective 1st October 2016.
We were a significant supplier of business to these areas and strongly believed that in order to minimize any unnecessary suffering that these elephants may experience due to a lack of income for the businesses that own them, a gradual and sustainable withdrawal was required. As larger tour operators pulled out of these practices overnight, we saw many elephants go hungry as their owners no longer made enough money to feed them and did not have the time to invest in other sources of income.
Over the course of several months we worked closely with the local communities we support to explore new income revenues and ensure these animals were well-looked after. The elephant rides and camp visits originally included on our tours have been replaced with free time and other activities.
Horse and Carriage Rides at Edfu Temple
For many years, we have included Edfu Temple as a sightseeing stop on most of our Egypt tours. It is possible to arrive at the temple by vehicle or, if travelling by Nile Cruise, by taking a short transfer from the dock to the temple. However, following a change in policy by the Aswan Governorate, the only mode of transport now allowed for those travelling by Nile Cruise and arriving at Edfu is to use locally managed horse and carriages for transferring to the temple.
The unhealthy and sad state of many of the horses involved in this operation has raised a number of animal welfare concerns and, as advocates for responsible travel, we do not want to promote any activities where animals are subject to mistreatment. Consequently, from 1st December 2018, we decided to no longer include sightseeing at Edfu Temple for those travelling aboard a Nile Cruiser with us.
If arriving to Edfu Temple by road, visitors are not required to use horse and carriages and so Edfu Temple can be included as a sightseeing stop on any tailor-made itinerary.