smarTours ends elephant rides in India

05 Oct 2017  253 | World Travel News

New York — smarTours and PETAannounced that the New York–based tour operator would end elephant rides during its tours of India.

Elephant rides at Amber Fort in Jaipur, India, had been part of smarTours' India itineraries since the late 1990s. Rides will end effective immediately for the 18 scheduled India tours in 2017 and 2018.

PETA, the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, has been a long-time advocate of protecting elephants around the world. This summer, PETA India received reports from concerned tourists who had witnessed elephant abuse at Amber Fort. Abuses like those photographed at Amber Fort are routine in the elephant tourism industry.

"One of the goals at smarTours is to make a positive impact on the destinations we visit all over the world, and over time with the help of PETA, we have learned of the cruelty imposed on all elephants who are used for rides," says smarTours co-CEO Greg Geronemus. "It has become clear that these rides are simply wrong and inconsistent with smarTours' values." Adds smarTours co-CEO David Rosner, "Removing elephant rides from the tours is simply the right thing to do. We are truly grateful for PETA's help in making us aware of what was actually going on behind the scenes with these wonderful animals. We are proud to take this step, and as one of the leading tour operators in the U.S., we encourage others in our industry to do the same."