Covid-19 crisis deals heavy blow to Chiang Mai elephant park
Chiang Mai’s Maetaeng Elephant Park and Clinic has sustained more than 100 million baht in losses over the past three years and the owner is looking to sell the outfit.
Wassana Thongsuk said her park mostly relied on income from foreign tourists, but tourists had disappeared over the past three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said her park has been struggling so badly that she was forced to sell off a plot of land in Chiang Mai’s Chiang Dao district to find the cash to keep the business alive.
Wassana said up to 250,000 baht is spent every month to cover the cost of taking care of the park’s elephants and paying their handlers, which has resulted in a 100 million baht burden.
The park, set up more than 28 years ago, housed as many as 60 elephants, 50 owned by the park and the remaining 10 borrowed from others.
She said the borrowed elephants had been returned to their owners and though she initially thought of selling some of the remaining elephants, she dropped the idea because moving out of the premises will be difficult for the animals. To prevent this trauma, she decided to sell the entire business instead so the new owner can take care of them.
She said she had not yet come up with a price for the business, but interested investors are welcome to talk to her. She added that a Chinese businessman had offered her 1 billion baht for the park last year, but she was still mulling the offer.