On the subject of birding tour costs

To: "'Janine Duffy'" <>
Subject: On the subject of birding tour costs
From: "Experience the Wild" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:52:05 +0930
Hi Janine,

Thank you for articulating so nicely the value of professional birding tour. 
Compared to running tours generally, birding tours are hard work, as you know. 
To be a tour guide requires training, to be a birding guide requires both 
training and passion, but the latter can't be taught. As a guide I feel 
honoured when people trust me to deliver an experience worth paying for, and 
very grateful when they provide feedback through trip advisor that they did 
indeed have their expectations exceeded.

Mike Jarvis

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of 
Janine Duffy
Sent: Tuesday, 16 December 2014 3:24 PM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] On the subject of birding tour costs

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.


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