Falkland Islands Tourist Board (FITB) has been busy over the past weeks planning for upcoming events in the UK. The first event is in just three weeks when FITB will again be attending Bird Fair at Rutland Wildlife Reserve in Oakham, UK.
The British Bird Watching Fair has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1989. The idea evolved from a local event held in 1987 at Rutland WaterNature Reserve called ‘The Wildfowl Bonanza’.
The event was a great success and after much deliberation, in the local pub appropriately named The Finch’s Arms, the idea of a birdwatchers’ fair was hatched by the organizers Tim Appleton and Martin Davies.
The Fair takes place on the nature reserve at Rutland Water which itself is a huge water storage reservoir owned by Anglian Water.
The nature reserve is a RAMSAR and Special Protection Area and is managed by The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
The aim of the Fair was to get birdwatchers together to celebrate birds, to develop a commercial fair for the bird watching industry and to support international conservation projects. This has been achieved by The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust working in partnership with The RSPB.
In excess of 20,000 visitors now attend the Fair annually and over 300 exhibitors display their products, with BirdLife International and its partners receiving the profits for conservation projects.
Since the first project ‘Stop the Massacre Campaign’ in 1989 to the current day, more than £2,000,000 has been raised to help save birds and their habitats in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
Bird Fair attracts exhibitors from all over the world promoting businesses as diverse as eco-tourism, optical equipment, old/new wildlife books and bird-feeding products.
Managing Director of the Tourist Board Tony Mason said this event is a must for the Falklands given the Islands unique wildlife offering. FITB is one of the main sponsors of the event.
Mr. Mason explained that the event is supported by other businesses in the Falklands and, “our presence is one of the largest at the event.”
“I am very pleased to have the support of Falkland Islands Holidays and Falkland Islands Conservation, who have both attended Bird Fair faithfully for many years. In previous years the booths were in various tents throughout the event but at last year’s event we all came together to have a stronger presence at the event.
The booths are set up differently this year with FITB centered between Conservation and Falkland Islands Holidays; this gives us a unique opportunity to provide loads of information to potential land based tourists and also provide an immediate booking option at the event, which is very important at a consumer show.”
On the Saturday of the event FITB is planning a traditional Falkland Islands smoko.
World Travel Market is also just around the corner and this year the Falkland Islands will have yet another, “impressive look and feel at the event,” said Mr Mason.
This year they are focusing on ‘destination awareness’ and have incorporated a large illuminated map of the Falklands, which is front and centre in the booth.
The booth also has six 60” plasmas which loop a video feed of the Falkland Islands non-stop throughout the event. Mr. Mason said the Tourist Board already has fifteen scheduled tour operator meetings during the event and they are currently working on scheduling a robust media program as well.
There will be a reception at the event where all of the major tour operators, travel agents, travel trade publications and media outlets will be invited. FITB has also printed new brochures for both the travel trade and for consumers giving detailed information on how to book travel to the Falkland Islands from anywhere in the world.
See: Falklands Where nature still in charge...