Green Cities as Bird Watching Destinations

Authored by: David Newsome , Greg Simpson

Routledge Handbook of Tourism Cities

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367199999
eBook ISBN: 9780429244605
Adobe ISBN:


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Birds have always fascinated people, because of their visibility, colour, song and behaviour. Bird watching is one of the most popular of natural history activities that people from all walks of life pursue (Connell 2009; Kjølsrød 2019; Moss 2009; Ma et al. 2013). The presence of native birds in the urban fabric helps to shape the attractiveness of a city, especially when those birds can be appreciated in association with an abundance of urban green space (Hails 1992; Hails and Kavanagh 2013; Parker and Simpson 2018a). Tourism is among the largest and most rapidly growing industries on the planet and the nature-based tourism (NBT) market segment represents 20% of the global tourism industry (Center for Responsible Travel 2016; United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) n.d.). With a conservative estimate being that hundreds of thousands of tourists travel to participate in bird watching every year, avitourism is an increasingly important sub-niche of the rapidly growing NBT market segment (Cong et al. 2017; Moss 2009; Newsome 2015; Steven et al. 2015; Steven and Newsome 2020). There are clear economic benefits for international tourism cities that promote urban bird watching as a means of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Marasinghe et al. in press; Steven et al. 2013; Newsome 2015). Economic development, however, needs to be balanced against the potential disturbance and resultant reduced fitness of bird species targeted by urban avitourism and potential impacts on the environmental values of green spaces that support those species (Barter et al. 2008; Newsome 2017; Marasinghe et al. in press).

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