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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) revealed Thailand as the top destination for those seeking to purchase illegal ivory products. The survey also revealed that Chinese tourists often had no desire to buy the ivory.
The survey polled 214 tourists from China at five tourist locations in Bangkok;Chinatown, Watergate Pratunam, Big C Rathchadamri, Asiatique Riverfront and MBK Centre. The survey found that 81% of respondents had no intention of buying ivory products in Thailand.
WWF Thailand published the survey, which was carried out from October to December, according to the Bangkok Post. About 15% surveyed said they were unsure, while only 4% expressed interest in purchasing ivory products.
When asked about places they felt ivory could be easily obtained, 51% said Thailand. Followed by Myanmar 19%, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Laos 10%. WWF Thailand manager Duangkamol Wongwarachan said while attitudes were slowly changing, the demand for ivory among Chinese tourists remained high. He also said Thailand was still the world’s top producer of ivory products.
Observers said this also explained their popularity among visitors. “After Beijing made ivory trading illegal back in 2017, they came here instead.”
The findings echoed a similar survey carried out by global research company GlobeScan. It found the number of Chinese tourists buying ivory products in Thailand increasing to 27% this year. Up from 18% cent last year.
While the import or export of African ivory is illegal in Thailand, it is legal to buy domestic ivory.
There are 117 ivory shops registered with the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department in Thailand.