On the subject of birding tour costs

To: Dave Torr <>
Subject: On the subject of birding tour costs
From: Janine Duffy <>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:18:41 +1100
Hi Dave

You've outlined my point precisely. What makes you say Aussie bird tours are 
expensive? Several of the operators I know are charging $200 - 400 a day 
depending on number of participants. That includes their costs - vehicle, 
office, marketing, food sometimes. Most other Aussie professionals are getting 
paid that every day without any costs. And they have full time work, not the 
seasonal uncertainty of tour operators. 

I think comparisons with costs in  developing nations have skewed our idea of 
what it should cost.

I'm not having a go, I'm just trying to explore this idea. Thanks for your 
reply, I appreciate it.

Best, Janine

Sent from my Motorola RAZR™ M on the Telstra Next G™ Network

Dave Torr <> wrote:

>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.
>Sent from my Motorola RAZR™ M on the Telstra Next G™ Network
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