DOMESTIC OVERNIGHT BIRDWATCHERS SPENDING INCREASES BY 29.5% IN A YEAR, TO $351 MILLION
...AND THAT’S JUST ONE COMPONENT OF AUSTRALIA'S BIRDWATCHING TOURISM BILLIONS
"Vote Knowingly" campaign launching soon
Australasian Darter, picture Eleanor Dilley
Latest data released by government body Tourism Research Australia, shows domestic overnight birdwatchers spent $351 Million in Australia, year ending December 2021, a staggering 29.5% more than the previous year.
The number of domestic overnight birdwatchers has climbed to 368,000, taking the four-year annual average to 331,000, compared to visitors to a reef (254,000) or whale/dolphin watchers (323,000).
But domestic overnight tourists are just one component of tourism. Latest data shows that on average, a further 383,000 domestic day tourists birdwatch as well.
Then there’s international. Latest data (year ending December 2019, pre-covid), shows 608,000 International tourists birdwatched in our country, more than the number who golfed or fished put together, and about double the number who attended the F1 Grand Prix.
More than the number who golfed or fished put together, and about double the number who attended the F1 Grand Prix (International birdwatchers)
Year ending December 2019, the combined number of international, domestic day and overnight tourists who birdwatched in Australia, was 1.4 million. Their combined spending surpassed $2.88 billion.
The five-year average number of international and domestic tourists who took part in nature-based activities is over 83 million, compared to 45 million who took part in outdoor (sport) activities.
Outdoor nature-based activities are defined as going to the beach, visiting national/state parks and gardens, going whale or dolphin watching, visiting farms, going bushwalking, and birdwatching.
Outdoor active (sport) activities are defined as fishing, golf, scuba diving, snorkeling, water sports (kayaking, sailing, windsurfing), surfing, snow sports, cycling, exercise, gym or swimming, and other.
Quotes by Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting inc:
“When birdwatching is so popular and lucrative, and our regions are home to native waterbird species unique to our country, our opportunity is clear. But to be able to benefit, we must stop the gunfire, because it’s not synonymous.”
“Last year’s state budget provided $70 million to support community sporting clubs and improve opportunities for women. How much of it went to hunting clubs, when less than half of one percent of the population hunt, most of them men? The next budget (due shortly) should support more popular, gender balanced pastimes, and protect our valuable native wildlife assets. “
“This government data shows that birdwatching is worth, in direct financial terms, at least 30 times more than bird killing** – and that's without the value of healthy ecosystems factored in.”
**A Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions report in 2019 showed the economic value of hunting duck and quail combined was estimated to be just 87 million– a significant decline from the same study five years prior, with many regional areas seeing little if any benefit.
In the lead up to the federal election, there has been much focus on "jobs, jobs, jobs". But surprisingly little focus has been afforded a key component which could secure them; our unique natural environments and wildlife (alive).
Pre covid, tourism was worth more to Australia's economy than agriculture, forestry, fishing, IT and media all combined (Tourism Satellite Account 2019). According to a study by Griffith Institute for Tourism for Tourism Australia (Consumer Demand Project), our wildlife is a top drawcard. Surely it makes sense to protect it.
Supported by two of our Alliance Partners, RVOTDS have sought feedback from various federal political parties about their policies, achievements and commitments, regarding protection of Australia's native wildlife and environments. We will be publishing this data soon, to assist people tovote knowingly.