Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation (International Conservation and Development)

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Keith Bosak

Commitee Members

Christine Oschell, Jill Belsky, Sarah Halvorson


Birdwatching Tourism, Guide Curriculum, Guide Training, Nature-based Tourism


University of Montana


This project sought to explore the problems and possibilities experienced during the establishment of a guide training institute in Uttarakhand, India. As originally proposed by the Mountain Shepherds Initiative, a small tourism organization based in Uttarakhand, the aim of the guide training institute was to provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to gain employment as guides within, and expand the extent of, high quality/low quantity birdwatching tourism within northern Uttarakhand. This project was undertaken in conjunction with the Mountain Shepherds Initiative and the problems and possibilities were identified during a six month stay in the region from May-November, 2010. The problems and possibilities identified concerned the potential for the expansion of birdwatching tourism within the region as well as the process of establishing the training institute. Problems and possibilities associated with the potential for expanding birdwatching tourism within the region were related to three destination-attributes identified by Scott and Thigpen (2003) as of primary concern to birdwatchers: species availability, infrastructure, and contrast to urban environs. Problems and possibilities identified in connection with the process of establishing the guide training institute related to the means by which sites were selected, the creation of a course curriculum, and the initial implementation of guide training through a pilot course. As the tourism industry grows, and guides are held to increasingly high standards, it is hoped that this exploratory study will both inform other organizations wishing to establish guide training programs as well as future research into guide training.



© Copyright 2011 Benjamin Schwartz