Bird watching has become a mature and industrialized way of eco-tourism in European and American countries. Taking the United Kingdom as an example, there has been bird watching activities and academic research on bird watching tourism since the 18th century. Among the 64 million people in the United Kingdom, more than half of them are bird watching enthusiasts, and at least 10% of the 30 million enthusiasts have a demand for bird watching abroad, which means that there are no less than 3 million potential bird watching enthusiasts just in the United Kingdom.
Affected by the United Kingdom, neighbouring Europe such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark have relatively developed bird-watching tourism, but since the avian resources in Europe are scarce, the European bird watching enthusiasts are willing to go abroad. This is another big market in Europe besides the United Kingdom.
The population of the United States (320 million) is huge. Affected by traditional culture of the British, bird watching enthusiasts are no less than 30 million, and it is showing a trend of substantial increase. Among them, about 10% of bird watchers have the needs of outbound bird watching, that is to say, at least 3 million people.
China has a vast territory, with alpine mountains and plateaus in the west, flat and boundless plains in the east, deserts and coniferous forests in the north, and tropical rainforests in the south, the coastline and numerous islands of the southeast coast, and the two major rivers that span the mainland. China is one of the countries with the most abundant species of bird, the avian biodiversity ranks fourth in the world, right after Brazil, Peru and Colombia in Central and South America. According to the CBR Checklist of Birds of China version 8.0, China currently holds a record of 1,480 species of wild birds, of which nearly 100 are endemic to China, which means that these 100 species can only be observed in China.
As one of the 25 hotspots of biodiversity conservation in the world, Sichuan Province is in the transitional zone from the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau to plains and hills of the Yangtze Plain. The landforms are complex and peculiar, and the climate types are diverse. This land has given birth to rich and unique biodiversity. There are 46 Important Bird Areas such as Zoige, Jiuzhaigou Valley and Mount Emei, ranking first in the country, with abundant bird resources. According to the latest observation data, as of March 2020, Sichuan Province has recorded a total of 757 species of wild birds, accounting for 52% of the total number of bird species in China. Among them, there are 46 Chinese endemics, accounting for 49% of the total number of endemic birds in China, which is the first in the country for avian endemism.
More than a century ago, the modern bird watching movement in China emerged in Chengdu, Sichuan. Over the years, Sichuan has formed an increasingly common public atmosphere for bird watching activities. Abundant tourism resources, service resources and convenient transportation routes are attracting more and more international people to Sichuan for bird watching.
These routes of bird watching tours are planned to create four main areas of bird watching tours in Sichuan, the mountains and wetlands of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, the alpine valleys of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the Rainy Zone of West China, and Chengdu and surroundings. Sichuan will completely become China’s first destination of bird watching, as a standard eco-tourism, and indeed, it will achieve the great historical mission of China’s inbound tourism diversification.