This past Saturday was Migratory Bird Day, and the United Nations (UN) introduced the world to its latest sustainable tourism plan to commemorate the day. Project Destination Flyways will reportedly protect migratory bird "rest stops" while providing birdwatchers a way to see these massive flocks in action.
According to an announcement made on Saturday, the United Nation's World Tourism Organization has teamed up with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA )to launch a new initiative dedicated to protecting the natural flyways for migratory birds.
"The end result hopefully will be a classic win-win situation - good for the birds' habitats and the birds themselves and advantageous also for the tourists, the tour operators and local communities," Bert Lenten, the Executive Secretary of the AEWA said in a statement.
According to the UN announcement, Destination Flyaways aims to established tourism spots along some of the world's longest migratory bird routes - which can sometimes span ocean and continents, and are used by millions of birds from a wide variety of species.
The Destination Flyways project page explains that due to the long nature of their travels, many migratory birds use "a chain of vital site for breeding, staging, and wintering." These sites are sometimes protect by a countries conservation policies, but these policies tend to vary from region-to-region and have recently come under "external pressures" including global climate change and economic strife. Recent studies have even shown that electrical fields from modern city-life, and interfere with migratory birds' natural sense of direction. In the interest of preserving these 'rest stops,' the UN has suggested making use of their "great tourism potential."
"Many people want to experience nature when they travel and there are millions of people around the world who are particularly interested in observing birds in their natural surroundings," said Bradnee Chambers, the Executive Secretary of CMS in a video statement.
Details on just how Destination Flyways will work remain unclear, but the UN has revealed that revenue generated from a global tourism network based on bird-watching could be self-sustaining, generating revenue to further the project and simultaneously preserve the habitats that the birds and the industry would need.
Eight key sites along major migratory flyways have been selected for the initial launch of the initiative, but more sites are planned to be added as the global initiative gains steam.
The Destination Flyways project was announced on Migratory Bird Day, May 10.
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