August 26, 2010
Bird watching professionals, aficionados and tour operators from around the world gathered last week at the British Bird Watching Fair, celebrated last week in the city of Rutland, England. More than 30 thousand visitors flocked to the specialized gathering for one of the most interesting and rapidly growing travel segments, precisely the one with a special interest in the observation of birds around the world.
Ecuador shined with its own light as one of the most spectacular travel destinations in the globe, due to the immense variety of species which can be found on its relatively small territory, the size, precisely, of the United Kingdom or the State of Colorado in the United States. Ecuador has more than 1700 bird species, many of them unique in the globe, including, just as a few examples, some 100 species of hummingbirds; the endemic birds of the Galapagos, the majestic Andean Condor; the magnificent Harpy Eagle and the rare and spectacular “Cock of the Rock”. The amount of bird species recorded and existing in Ecuador, doubles the amount of those in all of the United States.
Ecuador’s stand was one of the most visited during the Fair, considering the outstanding ornithological diversity which the country boasts. The Ecuadorian delegation was presided by the Undersecretary of Tourism Promotion, Mr. Patricio Tamariz, and had as a guest expert, one of Ecuador’s most reputed ornithologists, photographer, writer and bird watching expert, Mr. Juan Manuel Carrion, who delighted the visitors explaining and showing in photos and videos the amazing varieties of birds which can be easily seen throughout the Ecuadorian territory. Abundant publicity, posters, screens, fliers and brochures enhanced the presence of Ecuador at this highly specialized tourism trade Fair.
It is worth noting that Ecuador dedicates almost 25% of its small territory to the conservation of protected areas, between National Parks, Reserves and Ecological Refuges, which become the perfect venues for bird watching activities, while witnessing the important efforts which the country makes in order to preserve its natural resources and utilize them in a sustainable manner, particularly through specialized tourism. Many of Ecuador’s Protected Areas are real birding heavens, with registers of over 400 species of birds on several of them.
Another advantage is the proximity which makes it possible to see different habitats and their respective bird species within short travelling distances and with adequate lodging and tourism infrastructure on or nearby the most visited and popular bird watching locations. A good example of this is the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve, situated just one and a half hours west of the capital city of Quito, on a fabulous cloud forest easily accessible by a good paved road. The area teems with hummingbird species, but is also the home to more than 200 species of other birds, including the colorful and stunning “cock of the rock”, an icon of the region. As much as it teems with bird and animal life, the area also has a large offer of lodges and facilities for the travelers eager to explore this natural wonderland and complement the birds’ observation with adventure and sports travel options, like river rafting, canopying, horseback rides and nature walks. This same situation replicates along the Pacific Coast, the Andean Region, the Amazon Rainforest and, of course, the Galapagos Islands.
Ecuador’s presence on this important international event, dedicated to the very prosperous bird watching travel segment, was the occasion to strengthen the positioning of the country among the best and most fascinating destinations in Latin America, and in many cases of the world, for these special interest activities and tours.