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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Birdwatching > Birdwatching tourism > IberAves Project
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IberAves Project

Training in Ornithological Tourism
Pilot project that is developing training materials on an international scale for ornithological tourism in the Natura 2000 areas.


It is being implemented on an European scale and funded by the European Commission's Leonardo da Vinci Programme. It aims to gather, systematize and transmit knowledge and experiences on ornithological tourism that may help improve the tourism sector and ensure nature's conservation within protected areas (Natura 2000 Network).
SEO/BirdLife (Spanish Ornithological Society) is heading this project with SPEA and BirdLife International as partners.


The project's framework

Birdwatching is a fast growing activity in Portugal and globally. There is growing interest in using it as a theme for attracting tourists and other visitors. SPEA, in partnership with SEO and BirdLife International, initiated a project in January 2009 that will contribute to achieving quality ornithological tourism. IberAves is a pilot project that intends to develop training modules and materials in the area of ornithological tourism within the Natura 2000 Network. It will provide the tourism sector with online manuals, that will broaden their offerings for birdwatchers, without loosing sight of the conservation of birds and their habitats. Training modules will be created for nature guides, hotels and recreation enterprises. The project is co-funded by the European Commission's Leonardo da Vinci Programme, a funding programme dedicated to vocational education and training.

SEO and SPEA represent two very important countries for receiving birdwatchers. In addition, BirdLife International is in permanent contact with representatives from these birdwatchers' countries of origin. Each partner, using their experience, is contributing with complementary information and performs distinct tasks in order to integrate concepts about the tourists' needs and expectations and the reality of tourism resources (distribution, ecology and threats for birds and habitats).{original mto confuso.}

In the past decades, the number of birdwatchers increased significantly and is expected to continue to do so in the near future. Birdwatchers, despite being mere observers, can become a threat to birds in certain circumstances. This risk can be minimized by regulating this activity, creating adequate facilities, improving people and institutions' awareness and knowledge of this activity. SPEA believes it is important for birdwatching to become an economic asset in biodiversity rich areas, contributing, in a sustainable way, for the conservation of birds and their habitats.


Goals

- Create an educational tool that enables ornithological tourism, valuing the conservation of our natural heritage;

- Develop modules that can train the required skills to increase this sector's capacity without endangering nature's conservation;

- Create educational material that can be easily incorporated into local tourism initiatives within the EU's states, in Natura 2000 sites;

- Facilitate the training process to improve the tourism sector's capabilities in areas of high environmental value;

- Establish a communication system, between this sector's players, that will enable self-training and dissemination of results;

- Validate the produced training modules in order to adapt them to the educational and social needs of their targets, including the vocational and university education environments.


Results

- Virtual Library: Compilation of information on training materials and practical experiences in the ornithological tourism sector;

- Profile and basic needs of the ornithological tourist established;

- Information exchange network created between the project's partners;

- Type and structure of training modules established and their adequacy assessed by European quality criteria;

- Training modules' content developed;

- Pilot training courses to test the modules;

- Finished training modules adapted to e-learning;

- Self-evaluation system developed;

- Skill certification system designed.


Partners






Photos:
© Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com); © Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)








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