On the subject of birding tour costs

To: Janine Duffy <>
Subject: On the subject of birding tour costs
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:59:51 +1100
An interesting email - yes Aussie bird tours are expensive but then so are
most Aussie holidays (and other things) compared to overseas equivalents
for many reasons which have been done to death in many forums!
I have certainly been on a number of "professional" Aussie bird tours when
I was less experienced and - whilst they were not cheap - I always found
they were fantastic. These days I do my own thing in Aus with my mates but
if heading overseas I nearly always use a professional guide - in part
because I think that if "locals" appreciate that there is money to be made
out of "eco tourism" they are much more likely to try to protect what
little of the natural environment remains.

On 16 December 2014 at 16:54, Janine Duffy <>
> Hi B-aus
> I write, partly in response to a recent email mentioning the cost of
> birding tours, and partly as a general topic.
> Bird tour operators in Australia are generally experts in their field,
> with many years of experience under their belts. They often run tours with
> a very small number of participants, sometimes even private tours, at costs
> that barely cover their expenses, let alone their time.
> They do this because the market simply doesn't pay. As a result, many burn
> out after years of doing what they love. Others find creative ways of
> maintaining their tour business, which sometimes means small windows of
> availability, or slow replies to enquiries.
> We end up losing our best people from the industry. This is an industry
> that should be able to employ people, contribute to local economies, and
> invest in protecting the birds we all love.
> The answer to this problem is for us to modify our view on what a bird
> tour is worth.  Is a day with a great birder worth the same as an engineers
> time? Or a lawyer's? Doctor's? Manager's?
> As a long term tour operator (wildlife, not bird specific) I known the
> costs. I know that most small, genuine tour operators in Australia are
> excellent but under-valued and under-paid.
> A good bird tour operator gives you something that no lawyer, engineer or
> manager can give you. That feeling of wonder, excitement, thrill at seeing
> a wild creature you've never seen before. Do you remember that for the rest
> of your life? Is that worth paying that guide a decent living wage? I think
> it is.
> Janine
> Sent from my Motorola RAZR™ M on the Telstra Next G™ Network
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