There is a rapidly growing niche for bird watching tourism in Sri Lanka, according to the experts gathered in Colombo for the recent International Conference on Bird, Biodiversity and Tourism (ICBBT) 2016.

It’s well known that dedicated birdwatchers, known around the world as ‘twitchers’, will travel anywhere and go to great lengths to ‘bag’ a rare sighting or tick another elusive quarry off their list.

According to the Sri Lanka Wonder of Asia website, the event, co-hosted by the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL), underlines stats that “prove that bird watching tourism is the fastest growing type of nature tourism in the world”.

“It saw the presence of many local and international participants, including Birdlife International, the global not-for-profit dedicated to conservation of birds, with partner organisations in many different countries.

“Eco tourism and nature tours are becoming increasingly popular among all travellers, no matter the profession. Relaxing among nature seems to be the preferred stress buster for many individuals from all walks of life.

“There is a growing consciousness about the importance and the benefits of flora, fauna and ecosystems among the general populace, and this is reflected in the increased demand for tours and travels which highlight nature.”

The website stresses that birdwatching is not only a flourishing driver of nature tourism, but it also helps safeguard the environment.

It mentions a UK case study showing that “the RSPB reserves in UK generated over 60 million pounds in income in 2012 alone, while supporting the local communities.

“By working with these local communities, habitat loss can be prevented, and sustainable benefits for both man and beast can be created.”

Read the full report here.

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