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An Ivory-Free New Year

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The Year of the Pig is almost here! And with it, the opportunity to travel and purchase souvenirs for your loved ones. We have partnered with WWF to provide a few tips for choosing sustainable and heartfelt gifts that won’t get you into trouble with a customs agent.

Elephants have long been regarded as symbols of good fortune and strength. But each year, at least 20,000 elephants are poached for their tusks. China banned domestic commercial ivory trade at the end of 2017. Since then, it has been illegal to buy or sell ivory in physical or online markets. Transporting ivory in and out of China is also illegal. And yet, many travelers still get caught bringing ivory home, spoiling memories of their trip and having items confiscated.

That’s why actor Huang Xuan is here to remind everyone traveling outside of China not to purchase and bring home ivory products.

There are so many alternatives to ivory. Here are some ideas for gifts that are both sustainable and beautiful from some of the most popular destinations:

Coconut Shell Lights

Coconuts are very common in Southeast Asia, and their round and tough shells are ideal for carvers. In Thailand’s markets, you can find these shells transformed into exquisite lanterns, bowls and other wares.

Laos Flower Paper

Luang Prabang in Laos is a hub for artists, many of whom use local tree pulp and flowers to create delicate, decorative flower paper. Because of its translucent quality, flower paper is most commonly used to make lampshades.

Myanmar Sand Painting

The ancient art of sand painting is done using sand dyed with natural pigments. In Bagan, artists have mastered the art form to create intricate scenes and durable keepsakes.

We hope you enjoy your travels and make sustainable choices along the way. Please help us spread the word by posting one of the posters below to your social media channels. This new year help us save elephants by refusing to purchase and transport ivory.

Other ways PATA partners and members can help this cause:


  • Share and use WWF’s resources widely during Feb 8-17, 2019.
  • Use the hashtag #TravelIvoryFree or #样的旅行 during Lunar New Year.
  • Disseminate messages from available materials specifically to users who book travel products (e.g. flight, hotel, tours) to Thailand and Vietnam between Feb 8-17.


  • Promote Travel Ivory Free messages on flights from China to active ivory markets like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Myanmar and Singapore.
  • Read a Travel Ivory Free announcement over PA system before landing.

Travel Media:

  • Share this message or write original pieces about the impact or risks of the illegal ivory trade; WWF has experts available for interviews in China and photos and videos for media use.

OTAs and Travel Review Sites:

  • Post destination-specific content for active ivory markets (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Myanmar and Singapore) on relevant destination pages. (Content to be provided by WWF.)
  • Share this message or write original pieces about the impact and risks of the illegal ivory trade on relevant destination pages.’

Contact WWF for more information: Anny Liang at [email protected]