|photo: Tourism Malaysia|
Its deputy chairman Datuk Seri Maznah Mazlan said the product, regarded as a 'small market', has the potential to be developed considering the substantial number of enthusiasts it attracts.
She cited the United Kingdom (UK) where the number of birdwatchers had reached 1.6 million while in the United States of America, 30 million.
"Birdwatchers can spend a lot of money on their hobby. A study in the UK found that they are willing to fork out up to 5,000 pound sterling each. "They spend 3,000 pound at the birdwatching locations and the remainder of the money for trip preparation such as air tickets," she told reporters here Tuesday.
Maznah said in this regard, the product would potentially generate income for the hospitality, transport and food industry.
She said a viable birdwatching location would be the Australasian route used by migratory birds from Siberia, Russia and islands of Japan as a stopover. Aside from the migratory birds, Malaysia also has more than 700 species of local birds, she said.
"Malaysia is not foreign to birdwatching; we hold the Bukit Fraser International Birdwatching Competition annually; nevertheless, a special plan is necessary to empower it," she added.