Colombia's tourism industry sees birdwatching as new growth area

EFE

Ecotourism is becoming popular in Colombia and in the central province of Caldas, which is home to 42 percent of the country's bird species, birdwatching is a great attraction for visitors.

Tinamu farm, located in the village of San Peregrino, outside the provincial capital of Manizales, went from welcoming 172 guests in 2016 to more than 1,000 so far this year, and owner Mauricio Londoño is proud.

The Londoño family bought the farm more than 50 years ago to grow coffee.

The family grew coffee until Mauricio's brother decided to stop cultivating the plants and planted trees to attract birds, turning Tinamu into a garden.

Some 82 percent of visitors are foreigners, mainly Dutch and British tourists, but the number of Asian guests has recently increased, Londoño said.

Caldas Development Secretary Miguel Trujillo told EFE that the regional government expected ecotourism to eventually account for up to 5 percent of the regional gross domestic product (GDP).

Birdwatching requires patience because spotting birds is a matter of luck and it is not unusual for many visitors to be unsuccessful, creating a cycle that motivates bird lovers, who are always eager to find species they are missing from their collection of observations, to continue traveling.

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