The elephant is an important animal, culturally and historically, for Thailand. Elephant camps were first established for conservation purposes. Hence, this research was conducted to examine the Ayutthaya Elephant Camp to assess its elephant welfare, education, and entertainment via a tourist point of view in terms of visitor’s characteristics (nationality, age, and purpose). Visitor’s characteristics are the main factors that influence visitors’ satisfaction, values and opinion which could be used to analyze the camp’s purposes.
A set of 384 questionnaires was distributed to visitors who came to visit the camp. Collecting data period was from February to March 2010. One-way ANOVA was used to analyze the data of research.
The study found that the Ayutthaya Elephant Camp emphasized too much on entertainment and lacked educational value. In contrast, it provides quite well on elephant welfare. The result also revealed that visitors were most satisfied with fun of visit. They were concerned too much on the welfare of the elephants, as they agreed to use their money on saving this animal. They are also concerned with education issue as they would love to know more about elephants. In terms of entertainment, visitors felt completely safe, which is important for doing activities, to stay around the elephants. Finally, elephants showing obedience to mahouts is the most important activity for the sample group.
Hypotheses testing showed significant differences in satisfaction, opinion and values, and importance of specific components at Ayutthaya Elephant Camp in terms of nationality, age, and purpose. The result has implications for the related organizations to improve these issues. The camp should provide more educational ii values not only entertainment. Their staff should be improved to be more professional and high in quality by offering service training and controlled elephant training. Tourism Authority of Thailand or TAT and Ayutthaya Elephant Camp should improve their promotion strategies by coordinating with private businesses or elephant camps. Department of Livestock Development should set policy which concern directly to the welfare of elephants such as the standard of mahouts, standard of camps, and the regulation to cure sick elephants.
Mason N McLary
|Publisher||Assumption University of Thailand|
|Location of Publication||Bangkok, Thailand|