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Birdwatchers Paradise: Guyana

November 20, 2011

P98

from: http://ncnguyana.com/ncngy/index.php/travel/travel-news1749623790/getaways124…

Bird lovers gathered at the band stand of the Botanical Gardens for the launching of a bird circulation sanctuary heard that bird watching is one of the fastest growing niche markets in the world and it is the fastest growing tourism activity in Guyana.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad said Guyana has now become an amazing bird watching paradise in South America with over 860 migrant and resident bird species and over 48 Guiana Shield endemics such as; blood coloured woodpecker, red-shouldered macaw, red-billed toucan, toco toucan, golden-spangled piculet, white-bellied piculet and yellow-throated flycatcher.

Minister Prashad at the launching ceremony said that bird watching is one of the fastest growing niche markets in the world and it is the fastest growing outdoor activity in the USA where over 51 million people have reported to have gone on bird-watching trips.

“Guyana with over 870 species and counting is a bird hotspot and paradise and has been described as the top new neo-tropical birding destination and one of the best birding spots in the world…

Bird watching tours to Guyana have been increasing and our popularity as a top birding destination is also soaring like an eagle,” Minister Prashad said. He also pointed out that from 2004 to 2011 Guyana has seen a number of birding hotspots available to tourists and bird lovers, which is the result of market driven strategies which focus on bird watching as a niche and collaboration with partners such as USAID/GTIS, and Wilderness Explorers amongst others. Further, several birding FAM trips have been conducted which brought some of the top bird watching operators, magazines and ornithologists to Guyana, which now sees over 30 major international companies selling bird watching tours to Guyana, the Minister said.

“Guyana is now being mentioned and ranked with Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rice…we are competing well in the international scene… Even South Africa is interested in copying our bird watching model and strategy,” Minister Prashad said.

At the end of the ceremony, a plaque was unveiled by Minister Prashad in honour of the momentous occasion. Georgetown, thanks to its location at the convergence of the Demerara River and Atlantic Ocean, is filled with unique birding habitats.

The Guyana Amazon Tropical Birding Society (GATBS), headquartered in Georgetown, has recorded more than 200 species from 39 families in the city. The Botanical Gardens is an Important Birding Area (IBA) in Guyana that has a land mass of 185 acres and over 189 bird species from 41 families.

The Botanical Gardens is known as a popular recreational spot for locals and tourists, but more recently, the Gardens has become a hot spot for birders who scour the flora with their binoculars, scopes and cameras in search of some highly sought-after bird species.

The Ministry of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority in partnership with the National Parks Commission and the Guyana Amazon Tropical Birds Society have committed themselves to working together to guarantee a safe haven for the birds of the Botanical Gardens.

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