"Birding and nature-based tourism are important elements of tourism across Mississippi." said Malcom White, Tourism Division Director, Mississippi Development Authority. "The birding trail kiosks installed at our coast Welcome Centers add great value to our mission to engage and educate the traveling public about opportunities to stay a while and enjoy the best of Mississippi."
Electronic kiosks are increasingly being used to engage travelers who are becoming more attuned to their use in guiding their experiences through local welcome centers and other locations that support tourism (e.g., hotels). Although birders use birding trail websites to plan their visits to areas before they leave home, travelers and nature enthusiasts are more apt to learn about these opportunities from kiosks such as these, and hopefully decide to spend more time in the area.
"The birding kiosks are another great tool to engage locals and travelers alike while they enjoy the many assets of the Mississippi Gulf Coast." said Renee Areng, Executive Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Nature-based tourism is abundant on the Coast and birding is an integral part of the experience."
The coastal birding trail system is part of an integrated approach by Audubon Mississippi, through its Pascagoula River Audubon Center, to highlight nature tourism as a viable form of economic development that supports its conservation mission and programs. Another component of this approach is the Birder Wise Small Business Seminar: a four-hour program tailored to small business and tourism-related entities interested in learning how to understand and recognize the needs and desires of this growing sector of tourism.
The Pascagoula River Audubon Center's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems within the Mississippi Gulf Coast region, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats by engaging people through education, science, and public policy. For more information, visit: www.pascagoulariver.audubon.org.