Uganda, this time round received three international birders to be apart of the Uganda big Birding Week celebration something that has not happened since this event started 11 years ago. Their attendance has raised the profile of one of Uganda’s tourism gems, and could make the event one of the most sought-after fixtures on the country’s tourism calendar.
Among theses birders was,Tim Appleton who is the organizer of the world’s largest bird fair in the UK, Bill Thompson who is the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, one of North America’s birding magazines as well as Dominic Mitchell who is the founder and managing editor of Bird Watch, Europe’s leading monthly magazine and they paid glowing tribute to Uganda’s nature. Appleton said during the launch of the Big Birding Week at Forest Resort beach in Kasenge, Mukono district that Uganda is very rich at bird species and so has the potential to attract travelling birdwatchers who are over tens of thousands in the northern hemisphere only. Every birder will be satisfied with what he will see because Uganda has the highest population of birds in Africa and birders will also have a chance to see mammals and primates besides the birds, he added.
Uganda is like the sixe of UK , with 1,057 bird species which is about 50% of Africa’s total and this is the reason Uganda is considered as Africa’s best destination for birders and the African Bird Club ranking Uganda as home to two of the top 10 birding sites on the continent. These sites are Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which is position number 1 and Murchison falls national park in position number 9.
The Big Birding Week celebrations started in 2003 and climaxes into the Big Birding Day. This year’s event was organized by Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Uganda Bird Guides’ Club, among others, partnering with Nature Uganda. Birders visiting Uganda are tremendously increasing because last year registered 3,000 birders and each one of them spent $5,000 on average, bringing in $15 million and this is a lot of money that the country should not miss.
Tour operators should prioritize birds because they bring in more money than all the other tourism products so said Rosemary Komutagi, the acting commissioner for tourism development in the ministry of Tourism.