With the recent closure of the Tiger Temple it seemed that the future of tiger tourism in Thailand was looking up. A crack down on facilities across the country was happening, tigers were being checked and micro-chipped and a database set up to record the stripe ID’s of all captive tigers.
Yet the tourist demand continues. Tiger Kingdom is the largest company involved in the tourism industry of being able to pat a tame tiger and get a selfie. With the original zoo situated in Ubon Ratchathani, Tiger Kingdom soon expanded to its most well known location in Chiang Mai. It was a good business, and with more tigers being bred every year, they needed to go somewhere. Soon a third facility was added, this time down in the tourist hub of Phuket.
Now, a few years on, yet another facility has opened. This time in Pattaya and for some reason not named after the franchise but more simply named as Tiger Park@Pattaya. It is clearly part of the same chain though, as was evident when questioning the staff. The setup is the same, the enclosures look identical, the merchandise is the same and a number of the young cubs that were available for photos had all come from the Ubon Ratchathani branch.
Opened on 1st January 2017, it is a brand new facility and already holds at least 30 tigers, 17 of which were available for photos and ranged from just 4 weeks old (no interaction allowed) up to three years. There were a number of older tigers on the premises but these were all housed in enclosures further down the back away from the public and from view.
Whilst these tigers did seem happy enough, there were enclosures available for all, the tiger selfie is not yet a thing of the past. In fact, with this recent opening the opposite appears to be true. The tiger selfie industry is once again on the rise.