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Tuesday, 05 May 2009 00:00
White-mantled Barbet (Capito hypoleucus) Picture: Juan D. Ramírez
International experiences in bird tourism will be discussed during the I International Birdwatching Tourism Encounter, which will take place at the Jaime Restrepo Mejía Recinto para el Pensamiento in the city of Manizales, from May 20 to 22, 2009.
During the launching press conference, Sergio Uribe Tobón, President of the National Birdwatching Network of Colombia and Director of the Gabriel Arango Restrepo Ecological Foundation (Fundegar, by its Spanish acronym), highlighted the fact that countries like Costa Rica live from birding tourism and that the department of Caldas, with 10% of the world’s biological diversity and the greatest bird diversity in the world (750 species), has a great opportunity in this field.
The Río Blanco Natural Reserve, the best birding site in Colombia and one of the first three in the world, is located in the department of Caldas.
“Bird watchers come and stay for two or three weeks, during which we could offer them packages with visits to other reserves, to the snow peaks, and to the ecoparks” stated Ocampo Tobón.
Germán Maldonado, President of the Caldas Chapter of the Colombian Hotel Association (Cotelco, by its Spanish acronym) underlined bird tourism’s opportunity to attract visitors to the Café Triangle, a fact that commits the sector to improve in order to position this highly important product internationally.
Yellow-tufted Dacnis (Dacnis egregia) Picture: Juan D. Ramírez
Bernardo Mejía Prieto, of the Corporation for the Development of Caldas, asserted that this kind of tourism will allow visitors to get to know Manizales, promoting the city nationally and internationally and showing what it has to offer with its large variety of birds.
On her part, Carolina Vásquez Botero, manager of the Manizales Culture and Tourism Institute, reiterated that the ideal is to consolidate and strengthen institutional ties with a view to achieving the common purpose of advancing birdwatching and taking advantage of this ecological potential in other realms (hot springs, snow peaks, etc.). She invited the media to disseminate this important and novel product.