BirdLife Australia has produced a comprehensive report which delves into the phenomenon of avitourism in Australia. The report includes a series of case studies of regions that support Key Biodiversity Areas in four different parts of Australia that includes the South Coast of NSW These case studies illustrate how important avitourism can be in boosting the economy of these regions and its potential for doing so; ignoring the avitourism market is a short-sighted outlook. BirdLife Australia reports: As COVID-19 restrictions have eased across the country, the tourism industry has swung back into action, but an often-forgotten aspect of tourism is the avitourism sector — a niche market which sees people travelling around to look at birds. The appearance of a rare bird somewhere in rural Australia has been shown to ignite a flurry of birdwatching visitors into the area, injecting funds into local coffers. However, the arrival of a vagrant species is, by its very nature, an essentially random event which can never be planned for. However, this niche market in tourism is also often incorporated into a planned itinerary that includes other general nature-based activities and cultural experiences — and this can be included in strategic planning for regional tourism. Despite its relatively low profile, avitourism comprises an ever-increasing proportion of the overall tourism industry, and some savvy local communities have cottoned onto its potential lucrative impacts (and increasing importance) for their local economy. As a result, a number of rural centres have emphasised birdwatching and nature-based experience in their local area, with bird trails and birdwatching-related businesses and activities popping up in numerous regions to take advantage of this often untapped resource. After all, it is not only a source of revenue, but also provides benefits for the wider community. Importantly, a thriving avitourism industry can be leveraged to encourage decisions by stakeholders to sustain a region’s natural values and resilient bird populations which would support and nurture a thriving nature-based tourism industry. “National data reveals that birdwatching tourists spend more money than other types of tourists in Australia, and with dedicated marketing and investment, the birdwatching tourism market has huge potential to grow.” Further, the results of a survey of BirdLife members and supporters and their tourism-based activities and requirements are shared and analysed. When these results are combined, they provide a compelling case for communities to consider including avitourism when formulating tourism strategies for their area. It’s good for all the locals — birds and people alike. You can read the comprehensive report here.