The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is a leading tourism body throughout the UK and much of Europe. ABTA take their responsibility towards animal welfare and tourism very seriously and are concerned about the promotion of elephant tourism that may mistreat, induce fear or provide inadequate welfare for captive elephants. Henceforth, ABTA is transitioning away from elephant tourism that offers human-elephant contact without a barrier in between. This impacts all elephant riding, bathing and other similar practises. It is important to note that ABTA guidelines are guidelines only. They are not strict rules or enforceable laws and ABTA has no legal authority in any southeast Asian country. While ACES undertakes auditing for elephant camps that do currently offer human-elephant contact, we do this under our harm minimisation and reduction objective and should not be viewed as supporting the promotion or encouraging elephant exploitation for these activities. 


ACES is committed to working with ABTA and aligning as much of our camp criteria with the ABTA animal welfare guidelines as possible. The table below shows ABTA’s position on the Five Domains of Freedom; their welfare quality criteria and how ACES camp audit criteria aligns with ABTA Welfare Quality Criteria. 

The Alignment of the Five Domains of Freedoms, ABTA welfare criteria and ACES camp criteria.

In addition to animal welfare, ACES also evaluates the treatment of camp staff. We want to ensure all staff are on appropriate employment contracts, receive benefits and national insurance, are entitled public holidays and are awarded a living wage. Staff training is also a huge component of the ACES camp audit. Satisfied workers are more likely to take pride and care of their workplace.