Avitourism, one of the fastest growing types of environmental tourism, can be described as ‘travel and tourism that focuses on and highlights local birding opportunities.’
Uganda, according to Herbert Byaruhanga, has for the last 20 years performed well on birding itinerary, offering some of the best packages in East Africa.
“Birding is the leading outdoor activity for tourists worldwide because disappointments are minimised. There are 1,089 species of birds in Uganda,” Byaruhanga, the Managing Director Bird Uganda Safaris said at the weekend during the launch of the third edition of the pearl of Africa Birding Expo in Mabira Forest.
The expo, expected to run from December 6-8 in Mabira and Mpanga forests, Lutembe Beach, Entebbe Botanical Gardens, Mabamba Swamp as well as on the shores of lake Victoria will ‘promote awareness of Africa as a great premium birding destination in the world and encourage the conservation effort of Africa’s endangered bird species across the continent.’
The organizers also say youth and communities will be encouraged to invest in birding as an economic activity and means of wealth creation.
It will bring together members of the birding fraternity; vendors, conservationists, bird guides and service providers.
Previously run by Byaruhanga as ‘Africa Birding Expo’, this year’s edition that has been renamed ‘Pearl of Africa Birding Expo’ has now been fully taken up by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) under the theme ‘Celebrating birds and people to conserve the Fox’s Weaver.’
The Fox’s Weaver is Uganda’s only endemic bird that listed as globally near threatened species. It has only been previously seen in Lira, Kumi and Soroti districts.
“We agreed to fully take charge of the third edition in order to give it more boost. We also want to create more awareness and excitement especially among Ugandans about birds and be able to promote it as a tourism product,” Lilly Ajaraova, the Chief Executive Officer of UTB said.
“We know that many tourists come into the country for primates but we have more than that. We hope that this can serve to meet UTB’s mandate to diversify tourism products and market the Pearl as a tourism destination by increasing tourism numbers locally and international, increase income, create employment and enhance investment in tourism.”
The three-day expo will feature among others lectures (on conservation, business and eco-tourism), an auction, a familiarization tour, pre and post expo tours, birding clinics, an exhibition, a cooking competition, awards and competitions.
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