Chapter 30: Birding, sustainability and ecotourism
Birding, bird watching or birding tourism is a specialized sector of nature-based tourism focused explicitly on searching for, watching and enjoying birds. Birding has become increasingly popular over the last three decades (Cordell & Herbert, 2002; Naidoo & Adamowicz, 2005; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001, 2007). Despite tough economic times, the UK Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) experienced record growth in membership between 2008 and 2010 (The Travel Editor, 2012). The number of international bird fairs also continues to expand across a diversity of countries. The number of companies offering birding related products and services has increased tremendously over the past two decades. The first bird tour companies that offered tour packages to various destinations around the world started in the UK and the USA in the1970s. Destinations and countries that offer a high number of bird species and high levels of endemism are particularly popular.
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