The Bahamas is seeking to establish itself as a destination of choice for birders:
Led by the Sustainable Tourism Unit and with the support of Small Planet Consulting, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (Web: www.bahamas.com) recently launched their first-ever birding tourism development plan. The preparation of the plan was championed by Earlston McPhee, head of the Sustainable Tourism Unit. McPhee is well known for his work for over 25 years in promoting sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean and around the world.
The Bahamas depends heavily on its natural environment and has taken many steps to protect it. The country is one of the first in the world to establish a Sustainable Tourism Unit (STU), which initiated the development of the Bahamas Sustainable Tourism Development policy guidelines. The guidelines resulted in two Green Globe Environmental Achievements Awards from WTTC in 1996 and 1998. The Bahamas has long practiced sustainable management of public lands, including the designation of 26 national parks comprising over 700,000 acres of protected marine and land areas.
The Bahamas offers birdwatchers over 340 bird species, including about 110 species that breed in the country, over 170 migrant species and 50 rarely occurring vagrant species. There are 28 species that are not seen in the U.S., Canada or Europe. Most importantly, five of these species are endemic to the country – the Bahama Woodstar, Bahama Swallow, Bahama Warbler, Bahama Yellowthroat and Bahama Oriole.
Recognizing the potential of the commonwealth’s birding tourism assets and of sustainable birding tourism development, in 2009 the Sustainable Tourism Unit collaborated with the Bahamas National Trust, the agency responsible for the protection of the country’s natural and historical resources, to develop a fully accredited birding tour guide course.
Following the completion of the birding tourism development plan, Small Planet assisted The Bahamas in implementing the first initiative of the plan. This was a birding product testing and familiarization trip for Dr. Rick Wright, a well-known U.S. birding tourism professional.…At the end of the product testing and familiarization trip, Dr. Wright confirmed that The Bahamas has everything it takes for a country to be a first-class birding destination.
Read more in the full press release.