After PETA released disturbing footage of brutal mistreatment last year, sponsors of Anantara Hotel’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament dropped like flies. The annual tournament presented itself as a charity event raising money for the protection of elephants—an image that was shattered by the controversy, causing operations to cease.

This year, the Minor Hotel Group will replace the long-running tournament with a week-long string of festivities to raise funds for Thai National Elephant Day. From Mar 13-17, international teams, including Thailand’s Navy Seals, will race down the Chao Phraya River in elephant-themed dragon boats, while an educational art installation from Golden Triangle Elephant Foundation will take place on dry land.

The change marks a shift in the industry as a whole, with a rise in public awareness of the mistreatment of elephants fuelling the demand for more ethical, no-ride sanctuaries. Here’s hoping public pressure will continue to push a brighter future for Thailand’s peaceful pachyderms.

Anantara Riverside Bangkok, 257 Charoennakorn Soi 61, Thonburi,  02-476-0022