Ornitholidays was the first company in the world to organize birdwatching and nature tours and, and after 52 years it is still a reference point for all nature and travel lovers.
Ornitholidays has always been synonymous with high quality standards and competence and, from now on, it is ready to rise a fresh challenge: in May 2018 Ornitholidays will go international!
The company will be managed to SKUA Nature Group, thanks to the support given by Nigel and Sandy.
SKUA Nature is an innovative company made up of a tight-knit group of people who share their passion for nature and expert tour leaders who have no rivals in the knowledge of world birds and have been travelling around the world for many years.
When Nigel and I started speaking about taking-over Ornitholidays, we met in Spain, more than one year ago.
To me, Nigel has always been a role model and someone to live up to when developing all the projects my Group creates and manages. I’m extremely honored and excited to be the heir taking over the work he started 53 years ago.
It was seven years ago when Nicola Scatassi and I went to visit our first bird-fair, a little lost in that world, searching for contacts. The results of that visit were daunting, to say the least, since only a few of the exhibiting tour operators paid attention to us.
However, today we are very proud to represent one of the most quoted English companies and to present our catalogue, with a new graphic lay-out but with the same contents and quality that have always characterized Ornitholidays.
To me, it is not about being able to renovate the company, but rather about keeping its ethics, solidity and the high quality standards improving them year after year.
SKUA Nature will still be able to count on Nigel’s and other well-known tour leaders’ competence (Nigel Jones, Richard Coomber, David Walsh, Paul Rogers, Simon Boyes and other guides will lead some of our future tours), but the company will be based in Italy. For this reason, on this website you will find some Italian law certifications instead of ATOL, but they can guarantee the same safety and tranquillity.
Thanks to the development of reserves dedicated to Nature tourism all around Europe, SKUA Nature addresses to an international clientele. For this reason, we are not including international flights into the prices written on the catalogue, to give the chance to choose the best option according to the country of origin.
However, we will be more than pleased to offer a booking service to those who will need it, thanks to our partnership with Igo Travel. You will be supported in the choice and the purchase of the flights related to all the destinations appearing on this website.
This catalogue includes Ornitholidays old destinations and new adventures which have been organized with the same ethics and philosophy which have always characterized Ornitholidays.
Some years ago, I heard that Ornitholidays, the first established birdwatching company in the world was for a sale, I really tried my best to buy it. However, it did not work out. Over the following years we have both grown and followed our own ways, but then fate decided that our paths would cross again! Last year the news came that Ornitholidays was bought by Skua Nature – a young and motivated team of naturalists and tourism professionals, led by Max a true leader. He is a visionary, innovative, tireless and hardworking friend with great devotion to developing ecotourism and true nature conservation. I could only wish him success and prosperity!
Then, one evening, a day after last New Year’s Eve, while I was still in a holiday mood, I received a phone call from his assistant Paola to say that Max is arriving in Soa from Greece and that he would like to spend the next day in our golden eagle and wolf hide. That means a wake up at 05.00 in the morning and drive there before the rst light. So we did and we spent the day in the hide, waiting for the golden eagle pair, who were a bit nervous as there had been a second adult male in their territory for a couple of weeks. e photography opportunities were far less than normal but we had the chance to talk about our joint work, future projects and of course Ornitholidays.
A er nearly two months Max returned to the hide for another overnight stay, we had the local wild cat for an hour in front of the hide plus the wolves howling nearby. We also went into more details regarding Ornitholidays, at the end of which I was o ered to become part of the company. Without a seconds hesitation I accepted the invitation! To be part of the original prestigious birdwatching company in the world, established back in 1964 is nothing short of a great honor for everybody in the birding business.
More importantly it is also a great challenge. e global environment is changing rapidly and not for the better. We are very much aware of this and there is much hard work in front of us in order to keep Ornitholidays as one of the leading companies in the world in our business. However, what we have done in the eld of ecotourism in the last 15 years has never only been about business. Our aim is not just to maintain Ornitholidays high standards, but to take them further and higher - making it a greener, sustainable, educational and more ethical company, but most importantly though an eco-holiday company that can change minds and hearts, policies and decisions in a world which is quickly destroying its natural environment and people getting away from the mother nature. We will build on Ornitholidays great experience, know-how and expertise and continue to o er high quality tours, covering continents and interests. We would now invite you to read on and hopefully nd a holiday that suits you for 2019/2020.
In 1965 the term ecotourism hadn’t been invented but in West Sussex in southern England a man called Lawrence Holloway was hatching plans for a new company that would take people to foreign countries where he would show them the natural wonders which could be found there. He wanted to concentrate on the bird life of these areas, so he coined a name for the company – Ornitholidays.
Those first tentative tours were to Lake Neusiedl in Austria and to the Camargue in France. Over the next two years, building on his initial success, he expanded the programme to include Majorca, Ireland, e Netherlands, Guernsey and others. In his first 25 years, he managed to send nature lovers to over 50 countries and other birding companies were spawned on the success of Ornitholidays.
He travelled to some amazing countries, such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Jordan, Venezuela, ailand and China. When you consider how unexplored, by normal tourists, many of these were at the time, these were extraordinary adventures. Without a doubt Lawrence was a visionary.
In 1990 an interview with him appeared in e Guardian and in it he mentioned looking for a successor. I took over the reins in September 1990 and I expanded his programme with new destinations for Ornitholidays including Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Vietnam, Japan and Chile.
Now 27 years later, I could mention looking for a successor – but I have already found one!
Over the last decade we have been working closely with a very progressive group of individuals who have been providing us with ground arrangements and leaders for tours to Italy, Georgia, Spain, Romania and Iran. they already have over ten years of experience themselves of organising such tours and they have also produced a network of reserves across Europe where they have installed a new generation of photographic hides which allow close-up work for many species.
Max Biasioli and Sara Genovese are at the head of the operation but they will be ably supported, not only by myself, but also Nicola Scatassi and Luca Boscain – names and faces that many of you who travel with us will be familiar with.
The new owners will start their programme from the 1st May 2018. their new programme is outlined in this website and as you can see it has some exciting destinations to tempt you.
Many of the Ornitholidays’ well known leaders will continue to guide the tours, so you can be confident that little has changed, but we hope for an expanding programme of new destinations in the near future.
I wish the new owners luck with their endeavour and hope their next 25 years will be filled with as much excitement as mine have been!
Ornitholidays' Managing Director till may2018
Some words from the last Ornitholidays' director & some from the new one
SKUA Nature' Managing Director
Secretary & Logistic Coordinator
We speak English, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian
From other Countries:
mobile - +39 3280692640
Ornitholidays' Managing Co-Director