Goa, famed for its sun-soaked beaches, has also been steadily attracting nature aficionados who seek to explore Goan hinterland for wildlife and bird sanctuaries, offering a perfect setting for ornithologists and bird-watchers. The state hosts over 458 bird species and is promoting Avi- Tourism on a large scale which is helping the state attract high-end tourists. Being a tropical state, Goa is home to diverse wildlife and flora, but these enviable assets has never been adequately capitalized on.
Over the years, the concept of birding in Goa has picked up with a lot of new bird sites across the State. The state currently boasts of seven Important Bird Areas (IBAs). They are Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Carambolim Lake, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and Navelim wetlands in Bicholim in addition to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Several bird trails are being organised during the birding season, starting from October to February to boost Avi- Tourism in Goa and to promote ornithological interest in the state. Growing interest in tourism in the hinterland has also led to setting up of eco-resorts, further strengthening state’s tourism profile.
Commenting on Avi-Tourism, Director of Tourism, Govt. of Goa, Menino D’souza called it “one of Goa’s popular facet attracting tourists.” “Thousands of tourists now throng to Goa to catch a glimpse of some of the exotic bird species found in the State. The state also has many birding sites in addition to wildlife sanctuaries which are encouraging young and enthusiastic ornithologists to come and spot these unique birds thereby giving a boost to avi-tourism in Goa. Bird trails, bird festivals, books on Birds of Goa are making it more convenient and experiential for bird fans,” he said.
The list of exotic birds found in the state also includes the Sri Lanka Frog Mouth bird, Blue-eared kingfisher, Collared kingfisher, Malabar grey hornbill, Grey-headed bulbul, Rufous babbler and the state bird – the Ruby- throated Yellow- Bulbul.
Goa’s stature as a tourism destination is beyond the realm of debate. Its beaches and nightlife, for long, have helped it retain its appeal among tourists, domestic and international. However, constant augmentation of tourism products is vital for any destination to be able to continue retaining its pull. Given the state’s focus in cultivating a thoroughly untapped segment, the move is likely to bode well for locals and tourists alike.
(The article was shared by Adfactors PR. It has been extensively edited.)