It happens once or twice a season. Someone makes a reservation and then does not show up. Today is one of those days for me. It was to be the first nature watching trip of the summer. Luckily I have a ton of work that needs to be done in the office and around the house. Still; I always wonder what the person that asked me to be ready for them and then simply does not show up is thinking, do they think that I do not notice that they are not here? The answer is to make sure that I get a deposit but most of my clients become friends and I am sometimes lulled by that friendship.
After all of the research offered by the state office of tourism I developed trips designed specifically to reach the nature tourist. A market that was supposedly huge and growing. I have found that market to be almost non existent and filled with low priced competitors. For instance LL Bean now offers a walk on kayak experience for $12. I have also been unable to explain to that market how a guide with over 20 years experience adds value to a trip that a minimum wage college student cannot.
Coincidentally I got an e-mail from someone at Maine Audubon responding to an inquiry from when I was developing my Maine Guide Seminar last spring. The wages that they currently pay guides range from nothing to $15 a day. Hopefully I am missing something but if the future of tourism is tied to this low income product we are headed in the wrong direction.
Nice segue into my actual topic which is the funding of fish and wildlife conservation in the future. Hunters and fisherman have funded most if not all of the conservation work accomplished in the last 100 years. Their numbers are about to drop significantly over the next 10 or so years. Meaning that state fish and wildlife agencies will be without a significant portion of their income. At the same time many of our current conservation organizations are funded by that same graying population, and I think that the failure of the eco tourist to deliver value to our economy will be matched by their failure to fund fish and wildlife conservation in the future.