Promoting Honduras as a Birding Destination at the British Bird Fair
With the support of USAID’s ProParque Program, Honduras participated for the third consecutive time in the British Bird Fair, an event focused on birding tourism. This year’s fair, considered to be the largest event of its kind in the world, was held in Egleton, Rutland from August 21st to 23rd.
The Honduras stand was staffed by birding specialists and tour guides Robert Gallardo of Mountain-Gem Tours, William Orellana and Katinka Domen of Beaks and Peaks, Alexander Alvarado of Honduran Birds, and Yobani Peraza of Xukpi Tours, as well as Hattie Conner as a representative of the Honduran Tourism Institute (Instituto Hondureño de Turismo or IHT), who all presented the richness and wide variety of birding tours available in the country. Participation in the event allowed Honduras to display the country’s exceptional conditions for bird watching given the region’s diverse ecosystems which include tropical rainforests, cloud forests, wetlands, and coastlands, which are all highly attractive for birders.
The visibility and information shared at the Honduras stand was appreciated by the visitors, as shared by one of our participants, Alexander Alvarado. “USAID ProParque did an impressive job with the materials, which represent the moment of interacting with clients. We had enormous acceptance throughout the event. I think that talk of Honduras increasingly arouses interest in discovering this corner of Central America.”
The British Bird Fair, Europe’s primer ornithological tourist event, annually attracts more than 15,000 people, including the general public, bird watching professionals, and businesses and institutions dedicated to this market, which is closely linked to international conservation projects. Britain is the main source of bird watching tourists. In fact, the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has more than 1.2 million members, of whom more than 80 percent regularly travel to bird watching destinations.
According to Alexander Alvarado, this year many of the top companies in the world demonstrated an interest in promoting Honduras as a birding destination, including Rockjumpers, Nature Trek, Birdfinders, Avían Adventures, Birding Ecotours, and Sunrise Birding. These types of contacts are essential for the sales and hotel reservations necessary to develop this economic sector.
The nature and adventure tourism industry is experiencing the fastest growth worldwide. USAID ProParque supports the strengthening of the national tourism capacity for bird watching, including the training of professional guides.
“I am certain that in a couple of years, things will be totally different and our efforts are already having an effect and will continue to have an effect for years to come.” – Alexander Alvarado