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Bird-watching can help boost ecotourism industry: UN

Bird-watching, a popular hobby around the world, can present significant economic opportunities for countries through sustainable tourism, the United Nations Еnvironment Program said, stressing that States should increase efforts to support this growing industry.

"Birding plays a significant and growing part in the tourism industry, and creates direct and indirect economic benefits for many countries and communities, also amongst developing countries," said the Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, in a news release ahead of World Migratory Bird Day.

In a news release, UNEP highlighted that global spending on all areas of ecotourism is increasing by about six times the industry-wide rate of growth, and underlined the potential economic benefits of bird-watching in particular.

In the United States, for example, a survey by authorities puts the economic value generated every year by bird and other wildlife watchers at around USD 32 billion in that country alone. This amount corresponds to the gross domestic product of Costa Rica, which is also a popular destination for US birdwatchers.

In Scotland, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds found that last year, between USD 8-12 million is spent annually by tourists wishing to see White-tailed Eagles on the Isle of Mull alone, and that four per cent of jobs in Scotland are associated with wildlife tourism.

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