birding-aus Birdwatching tourism

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Subject: birding-aus Birdwatching tourism
From: "richard jordan" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 09:16:29 +1100
Hello all,
Since Chris Dahlberg has put my name in print I had better drag myself away from the annual accounts to say something!
I actually had a phone call about 4 years ago from someone in the Australian Tourism Commmission office. He said - surprise, surprise - that their overseas helplines were getting calls from the public asking about birding opportunities in Australia, and they didn't know what to tell them. Would I make up a sheet of infomation that they could duplicate and send out to enquirors. Here is an opportunity, I thought - and suggested the ATC find a little money, and I would produce for them a colourful brochure to give our overseas visitors a start with their birding. I also emphasised the importance of this market, and followed up with a couple of letters. Silence of course. I have given up with the ATC and State Tourism, as they are irrelevant - which is rather tragic really. I did get a referral once from State Tourism  - it turned out the person wanted a golfing holiday, and I was the closest they could get.
However, all is far from lost despite the irrelevance of our tourism public servants ------
1) The internet is a wonderful way to communicate in a narrowly-defined field throughout the world.
2) Other advertising can get to the burgeoning birding market in a very focussed way.
3) We are the world's best birding destination (before you gasp with disbelief I am including factors such as safety, political stability, ease of travel, costs, great field guides etc etc)
4) Our 'outback hospitality' is improving by leaps and bounds. Previously it was a term that implied sour glowers, filthy toilets and white bread. Our facilities, even at roadhouses, are now reasonable - even in the Northern Territory. And our food invariably brings surprised compliments from overseas visitors. Non-white bread has even made it to Innamincka (although still a bit of a rarity in Broken Hill).
5) Even local governments can be motivated to appreciate birding tourism - notably the fine efforts of Russ and Jenny Watts with
the 'bird routes' they have had signposted around Barraba + lots of support materials.
OK, there is still a lot of ignorance about birds and birding, but it gets better. Maybe tour operators should all buy new Porsches to show there is money in it, and then things will really change. If only I had time to get to the showroom!
Back to the accounts.    Richard
Richard Jordan
Emu Tours, PO Box 4, Jamberoo, NSW 2533, Australia
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