Officials from the Gibraltar Tourist Board participated in the annual international British Birdwatching Fair in August at Rutland Water, England.

During the fair, Gibraltar was marketed as anattractive destination for bird watching and nature tourism which has become a fashionable trend in the global travel trade in recent years.

Local company Avian Tours also took part and promoted its popular bird-watching holidays in Gibraltar and was represented by avian enthusiast Andrew Fortuna.

Jill Yeoman, a representative of the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS) also participated.

“First held in 1989 and described by the UK press as ‘bird-watchers’ Glastonbury, thousands of keen enthusiasts from all over the world ‘flocked’ to the fair located at one of England’s most prominent rural nature reserves, to see rare and exotic species,” a GTB spokesman said. “All the organisers’ profits are donated to a charity, Birdlife International, in support of bird conservation strategies and in saving critically endangered species around the world.”

Large quantities of supplies such as binoculars, cameras, books, clothing and other birdwatching equipment, plus artists and tour companies, displayed and sold their wares. Those present were also able to attend lectures and other attractions.

An unexpected visitor to the Gibraltar stand was former Governor, Field Marshal Sir John Chapple, a keen birdwatcher himself and Life President of GONHS.

Samantha Sacramento, Minister for Tourism, said last month that the GTB’s participation at the event was a ‘positive move’.

“We are interested in developing new tourist products and niche markets, and ornithology and bird watching in general are themes of great interest to nature lovers,” she said. “I think that we have a lot to offer in Gibraltar in this respect as our natural history tourist sites are truly outstanding and there are exciting business opportunities that can be pursued.”