Birding Ecotours takes positive steps to help during the COVID-19 crisis


Wandering Albatross ©Dominic Rollinson

The almost global ‘lockdown’ is scary and we now are now living through a crisis not experienced for a century. There are many immediate concerns from the health of our family and friends to the knock-on effects of panic buying and the depression of ‘social distancing’.

The sensible majority must try and help each other in any way we can from being a good neighbour to considering others before we hoard supplies. But as things settle down and the unimaginable constrictions on life become routine, many of us will be pining for that birding trip we had to cancel as the virus spread. Remember, that trip was not just a well-earned break and an injection of exotic avifaunal experience it was also a lifeline to the local economies of the places we intended to visit and the very livelihood of the local guides we would have employed. What is a sadness for us is a big blow to them.

Is there anything we can do? The answer is yes, we can! Birding Ecotours has come up with an idea and is urging other birding companies to follow suit.

Their COVID-19 special offer aims to helps people and conservation: please consider signing up for a discounted tour.

Signing up for a ‘COVID-19 special offer’ with Birding Ecotours/ will directly help local communities and small businesses in the ecotourism industry ease their heavy burdens and suffering. It may well be the thing that keeps companies afloat so they can bounce back in the good times. They are offering 10% off any 2021 Birding Ecotours tour booked (with a 25 % deposit) by 30 April 2020. In the unlikely (we hope) case that the coronavirus pandemic is not under control by next year, they will transfer this 25% tour deposit to a future year, with no penalties. 

To book such a tour please quote “COVID-19 special offer Birding Ecotours/Fatbirder” when booking any 2021 trip at birding ecotours and they will give you 10% discount and also donate 5% of the tour price directly to local birding guides in the ecotourism industry that are the most adversely affected by cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fatbirder and Birding Ecotours want to help keep these people, who depend on avitourism to make their livings, in business. By booking tours you’re already directly helping make things easier for these people. Moreover, Birding Ecotours will also donate additional money to them (5% of tour cost).

Many of you will be waiting to see what happens before booking your next birding holiday, unsure of when places will be safe, airlines operating and hotels and ecolodges re-opening. But what we’re trying to do is encourage you rather not to wait, but to book for 2021 now either with Birding Ecotours or any other company offering similar deals that support local guides. If Covid-19 persists as a real problem next year, there won’t be any penalties to you, as Birding Ecotours will simply move your deposit to 2022 (or any time in the future).

What are our predictions about what’s going to happen next? When do we think you can start going on overseas birding holidays again?

Right now (late March 2020) widespread travel bans across the globe (along with other drastic measures such as schools closing, companies requiring staff to work from home, restaurants & pubs temporarily closing, etc.). The world is in lockdown, and March/April/May 2020 birding tours are being cancelled because of this. The epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved to the West, with Italy, Spain, the USA and other western countries now currently being worse-off than China where it all started.

Quoting a refreshingly positive statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO), “COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other countries”, we take a similar view that there is a lot of hope right now, because of the current travel bans and lockdown. The stringent measures that many governments worldwide are now in the very midst of taking, are unpleasant (as they force a halt to our March/April/May travel plans), but we certainly believe that there’s an excellent chance that these lockdowns are going to work!

So, hopefully by mid-year 2020, the global picture will already start looking a lot rosier than it is right now. Many hard-hit countries have taken drastic measures. And, other countries that are not hard-hit by coronavirus (but don’t want to become the next Italy or USA), e.g. Bhutan, Namibia, South Africa, Brazil and Peru, have now also taken very decisive, stringent measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in its tracks.

What is Birding Ecotours’ stance on the COVID-19 outbreak?

See their regularly updated blog along with further commentary about this pandemic relative to the birding tour industry.

Please seriously consider being a part of our COVID-19 special offer mentioned at the start of this article, and help real people in ecotourism while at the same time, giving yourself a break from the travel lockdown blues.

NB In case you think otherwise… Fatbirder is not exploiting the situation… we will receive no money from this promotion… we just want to help local bird guides to survive and the birding travel industry to fully recover after the epidemic is over.