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Abstract

There is a growing interest in the treatment of animals used in the tourism industry, yet the academic literature on the animal welfare consideration exhibited by tourists is limited. This exploratory study seeks to identify if demographic differences amongst tourists engaging in animal-based tourism influence the importance they attribute to the ethical treatment of those animals. The case study is based on elephant tourism in Thailand. A statistical analysis of 136 completed questionnaires demonstrates a statistically significant difference in animal welfare concerns between Asian and Western tourists, but no significant differences for gender, age, educational background, or research prior to travel. The findings suggest a need for further research on animal-based tourism to examine the link between tourist responsibility and animal welfare. Managerial implications emanate conclude the paper.

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