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 21:35:39 +1100
I was just making the point that most Aussie things are expensive - not
just bird tours. Holidays in the UK and USA in the last couple of years
have been much cheaper per day than equivalents on Aus. But of course
recent changes in exchange rates will make us look cheaper to overseas
visitors, and discourage us from going overseas!
I cannot argue with you on costs and income, but of course many charge that
about that amount per day per person!
As I said - I do not regret spending money on the professional guides I
have used and wish you all had more business, which would indicate we might
get some leverage in showing birds and the environment are worth protecting
On 16 Dec 2014 17:19, "Janine Duffy" <> wrote:

> 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:
> Janine
> 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.
> Dave
> On 16 December 2014 at 16:54, Janine Duffy <
> > wrote:
>> 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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