What Is Geotourism And How Can It Impact A Region?

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Abstract

The article contains a detailed research about Geo-tourism. It provides a brief history about Geo-tourism aims and objectives. The article provides a definition of Geo-tourism as applied in tourism and travel association. The document contains an explanation of advantages of Geo-tourism in society. The article contains principles and significance of Geo-tourism in society as well as changes and improvements required in the identified sites.  The paper provides steps and procedures used in approving an identified site within a given location. The article discusses various disadvantages that can be associated with Geo-tourism when implemented inappropriately. Finally, the paper summarizes research through conclusion and recommendation notes.

Introduction

Geo-tourism is a new terminology introduced in 1997. It has continuously gained popularity by attracting increasing interests across the globe. Geo-tourism study was initially pioneered by Travel Industry of America who produces the first magazine called National Geographic Traveler. The main objective of Geo-tourism is to enhance preservation of geographical diversity. It involves restoration of lost cultural practices, as well as unifying differences within society. Aima of Geo-tourism is to identify join and activate natural phenomenon that forms unique characteristics of a place. Geo-tourism study involves all categories of the ecosystem including flora and fauna. It focuses at rejuvenating historic structures, archeological sites, scenic landscapes, traditional architectures, and local cultures. It identifies easily neglected practices such as cuisine, crafts, dances, and other types of artwork. Geo-tourism ensures that quality operations that facilitate better and successful, attractive sites have been provided. It focuses on increasing number of visitors in a particular region as well as ensuring that their length of stay is long. It ensures there is maximum spending of foreign resources like money and exchange terms applied are enforced through promoting quality sites within a given place.

Definition of Geo-tourism

It is a type of tourism that has an objective of sustaining, empowering, activating, and enhancing geographical characteristics of a place. It is a general practice that facilitates growth and development of environment through maintaining its heritage, aesthetics, culture, and facilitating welfare of residents of a particular region (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015). It combines naturally occurring ecosystems and human attributes that make a place attractive for tourists to visit. Geo-tourism can be described as holistic approach concerned with promoting events, features and synergies that attract tourists in newly identified niches (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015). Geo-tourism is a taste and feels attitude that involves regional communities providing visitors with authentic and enriching experience. It ensures that tourists have been equipped with entertainments from local cultural practices, traditions as well as offering detailed experiences to enjoy the unique natural beauty of ecosystem.

Advantages of Geo-tourism

Geo-tourism benefits our surrounding by ensuring that individuals visiting places have good intentions that facilitate growth and development of available natural resources. It facilitates elimination of negative environmental impacts such as overcrowding and economic resources pollution through ensuring enforcement of control measures, inducing management of surroundings as well as facilitating civil education among members of society. Traveling visitors higher local workers and make use of locally available services during their stay (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015). They have a high connection in the utilization of final products and supplies within the local region. Community acquires and enjoys promotion of local businesses to form civic groups that provide distinctive visitors with news materials.

It benefits residents and inhabitants of regions through promoting local services, encouraging growth and development of the local economy through increased trading activities. Geo-tourism provides benefits such as creation and acquisition of employment opportunities as well as the creation of new jobs based on tourism operations.  It provides residents with new awareness, ideas, and information concerning their needs and expectations that can be provided to improve standards of living among residents of a particular region (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015). It facilitates mutual benefits between visitors and residents. Residents get the chance of discovering their heritage and potential of transforming what they have for material benefits. They learn that their possessions and things they take for granted are highly regarded and of great interest to outsiders. Visitors realize a goal there are better and improved scenes, cultures, and people that can create adventure look and visage in life (Ross, & David, 2006). Local individuals acquire new trends and ways of showing off their cultural practices while tourists get more interested in having frequent visits.

It promotes conservation of naturally occurring resources such as energy, water sources, landscapes, and mineral resources. Through environmentally aware travelers society has the capability of acquiring transitions that reduce effects of pollution, reduce direct energy manipulation, control water usage and embrace techniques that lead to conservation of natural resources. It ensures that individuals have developed proper and moral integrity of a particular region. Local individuals identify the value of their culture, environment, as well as resources. Local people in return practice measures and enforce strategies that make sure they appreciate and protect valuable assets within the society.

Geo-tourism has been noted as a main method and methodology that facilitate respecting of local culture and traditions. Through Geo-tourism practices, foreign visitors can learn and appreciate local etiquette. Visitors have well-developed platforms to facilitate learning courtesy words in local language. It enhances visitors and local have adaptive features that enable them to have open and diversified techniques to cope with new surroundings. Through interactions with visitors and local people long term relationships, trust and confidence are developed. Through such intervention enthusiastic visitors carry home new knowledge, adventures and interests. Their new experiences and adventures encourage friends, relatives, and workmates to desire to experience similar occasions. Such practices enhance marketing A particular region for more visitors who bring continuous trade for better living standards such as the development of roads.

Geo-tourism principles and Significance

For a particular place to be recognized and get identified as an attractive site to favor Geo-tourism, it must have particular qualifications that facilitate its promotion as the major attractive site. Geo-tourism requires various improvements to be enforced to favor large markets of tourism attraction within a given location.  The various factors that contribute to better environments for tourism range from legal, security, social, economic, cultural and political factors as outlined below (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015).

Integrity of Local Place

Geographical characteristic of a particular environment dictates whether the region can be used for tourist attraction. By developing and improving cultural attributes, to embrace, original traditional norms is one of the strategies that improve a region for tourist’s attraction. Natural and cultural heritage in local locations must resemble factors and those events that attract visitors. Such changes encourage marketing differences and cultural pride within a society (National Geographic, 2014).

International Codes

Local places must adhere to principles, policies as well as international standards set by world Tourism Organization and Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Specific standards must be practiced by both local people and visitors (Neda, Celeste, & Carlos, 2012). Failure to correspond with required traits the place loses popularity and becomes a threat to both local and international visitors. Upon identification of appropriates sites, the international organizations such as International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) issues cultural tourism charter to validate a local region to used for tourism attraction (National Geographic, 2014).

Community Involvement

Community hosting a particular place identified for tourism attraction must react positively through ensuring that it has taken part in contributing to encouraging Geo-tourism. Communities require establishing structures such as security posts, to facilitate security of visitors. In and identified tourism attraction local site there must be encouraging local small business and civic groups to promote the well-being of tourists. The region must provide some incentives such as provision hotels, restaurants, guest houses and other facilities (Neda, Celeste, & Carlos, 2012). The regions must have a well-linked network with internal and external partners who can promote and provide distinctive visitor facilities such as transportation, shelter, and foods. The community acquires new and diversified improvement of local assets to boost requirement of new visitors.

Protection and Enhancement of Destination Appeal

Communities and individuals within areas identified as attractive sites are required to implement various styles of sustaining traditions and originality of cultural practices. Among areas required to maintain originality include natural habitats, heritage sites, and aesthetic appeals. Such attractive traditions help in ensuring that a maximum acceptable number of visitors is maintained throughout the year (National Geographic, 2014). Operations to ensure that all activities involving requirement and encouragements that sustain natural habitats include provisions of good incentives to community and individuals involved in traditional practices. Strategies enforced to facilitate required quality of attraction are maintained include the use of persuasions, incentives, as well as legal enforcement policies.

Land use

Communities within regions where tourist go for entertainments should have proper control of land use and implementation to provide room for a maximum number of visitors. Societies and communities residing in attractive sites are induced by development pressure and application of techniques that prevent and discourage overdevelopment (National Geographic, 2014). Geo-tourism implements measures that prevent degradation of a particular style of construction like the traditional structure of the housing. Resorts and vocational home constructed along coastal regions must have particular methodologies of retaining to ensure that visitors have easy access to beaches, water services, as well as water bays (Anze, Yunting, & Young, 2015). Scenes development plans must be developed in a well-identified location that should provide large waterfront at coastal regions.  Lands set apart for large scales tourism attraction such as game parks and conventional centers such as museums must be designed such that they can accommodate all needs of tourists. Assessments must prove that a given site is a self-contained tourist attraction site with all facilities required for large scale tourists (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015).

Conservation of Resources

Society must be well equipped with facilities that promote and encourage business operations and transactions to adhere to measures and .practices that promote serene ecosystems. Through Geo-tourism companies, industries, as well as other general business enterprises must practice measures that minimize factors such as water pollution. Strategies and practices that facilitate solid waste controls are constructed to ensure that tourist’s attraction sites are free from solid waste contaminations (National Geographic, 2014). Environments facilitating and containing attraction sites have well-developed energy consumption parameters, water usage, and well-distributed drainage systems. Chemical emissions are well controlled through mitigation and discouraging users and manufacturers of chemical to implement secure methods of disposing of chemical wastes. Measures put in place include installation o-f recycling chambers and recycling industries to control emissions of chemical compounds in environments. The utilization of proper lighting systems also promotes better and improved markets for tourists. Society enjoys well supply of lighting systems in favor of tourism through Geo-tourism (National Geographic, 2014).

Planning

The communities where tourist’s sites are located have vast and wide range well-planned architectural framework that promotes long-term Geo-tourism potential. Through laid down principles sectors that boost tourism attraction ensures that there are uniform and equal balanced migration of workers (National Geographic, 2014). Local and regional members of society have a high potential of ensuring that all workers in the community are retained to serve tourist needs and requirements. Work allocation and duties required to be provided such as carving, blacksmithing, and other traditional arts get high values within tourism attraction sites (Anze, Yunting, & Young, 2015). Geo-tourism facilitates development and construction of secure regions as well as better markets for products manufactured and produced locally. Geo-tourism encourages such business and industries to be within tourism attraction sites since they are environmental friendly. Population influx is controlled to sustainable levels by involving both those who are highly learned and those who are poorly literate in the tourism industry.  Direct and indirect involvement of individuals is motivated through tasks such as cultural dances, presentations and artworks (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015).

Factors Promoting Geo-tourism

Remarkable natural areas as well as geological features such as creeks canyons, lakes and forests are parts of naturally occurring features that promote Geo-tourism culture. Distinctive wildlife habitats such as game parks, animal orphanages give a guide to the establishment of a tourism site (National Geographic, 2014). Such areas should be characterized by various species of birds, different mammals, and a wide range of attractive flowers or tree species. Local sites may have unique attributes such as the good distribution of artificial or natural cuisine resulting from agricultural practices. Unique markets such as malls, hyper shops, and city restaurants form part of tourist catchment locations. Sections and places are well known for conducting events, ceremonies, as well as festivals that mark the certain transition of community heritage makes better places for tourists to visit and hung around for taking photos. Cultural day events and experiences characterized by theater performances, music dances, craft workshops as well traditional talent show events reveal many interesting scenes to tourists (Neda, Celeste, & Carlos, 2012).

Other touristy attraction amenities that promote Geo-tourism include outdoor experiences such as sports entertainments. Some places and areas characterized by mountain climbing, horseback riding, hiking and fly fishing create wonderful refreshing activities for tourist. Games involved in a secluded area such as skating, chess, pool games, and other indoor games attract tourists (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015). Some routes form major tourism attraction sites such as hiking trails, waterway canoes, birding trails and scene drives provides better places for tourist to admire. Apart from discussed places of attracting visitors, locally owned and personal infrastructures promote Geo-tourism. Well, furnished places such as cafes, pubs, craft shops, wines and spirit shops make a special place and relaxing scenes for visitors. Popular guest houses that provide standard and quality services admired by guests make best places for visitors. Good lodges, as well as nice and smart houses, attract visitors (Balkans geo-tourism.travel, 2015). Ambitious individuals, who have special talents in the provision of good communication skills, provide nice preference to many visitors. Tourists prefer audible artisans, good story tellers, and fluent speaking outdoor guide or historian.

Geo-tourism Steps Towards Approving a Site

Identify significance and historical culture of a particular site, the cultural values and natural characteristics of identified site. Geo-tourism determines conditions of identified site by evaluating if it is underappreciated by local people and visitors or is already crowded or at acceptable capacity. They analyze uniqueness provided by existing site by accessing the type of local awareness involved in the particular site identified. Geo-tourism study analyses if the community can derive improved benefits that exceed currents benefits. The study finally analyzes the possible educational advantages associated with the site (National Geographic, 2014).

Disadvantages of Geo-tourism

Lack of proper implementation of Geo-tourism can lead to the destruction of cultural distinctiveness. Geo-tourism can cause lack of even distribution of wealth and assets within a country a situation that can cause an imbalance of resources. As a result of greedy, corrupt,  and selfish leaders some may facilitate the development of Geo-tourism trend aiming at short term benefits. Such poor strategies can contribute to the degradation of high and quality culture and lead to erosion of culture through various consequences.  Various social, economic, cultural, and political influences that can affect a nation includes

Cultural erosion whereby various practices such as modernization influences, also called world monoculture may affect the society. Modernization changes cultural heritage through freezing cultural performances, loss of traditional norms in religion, language rituals and material culture. Some activities are introduced to the society that promotes immoral operation such activities includes prostitution, child trafficking, abortion, and other noncultural values. The community may suffer from environmental destruction where naturally existing ecosystems may get tampered with through pollution effects, the introduction of foreign chemicals and dumping of solid waste materials. An environment that may suffer from destructions includes game parks, hotel resorts, beaches, deserts, golf fields and other areas within tourist reach (National Geographic, 2014).

Society may also be affected from encountering marginal employment that may be characterized by low skills, low wages, menial services, gambling, and the rise of hustling society. Such form of activities reduces standards of living within the society. Geo-tourism may contribute to low benefits causing minimal interests compared with intended outcomes. Major sectors of concern and sensitive need may get compromised facing poor delivery of basic needs. High concentration with Geo-tourism may contribute to the lack of better health care facilities, lack of secure job security policies, and lack of rules or standards that direct how environmental systems should be implemented. Geo-tourism may be characterized by proliferation of illegal and destructive economic activities such as increased markets for drugs, alcoholic brews, and endangered species (National Geographic, 2014). Society may get enlightened, and some people get manipulated inappropriately to accomplish selfish agendas. Through interaction with tourists, society may engage in poaching activities leading to the killing of wild animals such as rhino, elephants, and others. Businesses such as drug trafficking may be rampant causing society to suffer from increased drug addicts. Limited circulation and utilization of assets such as airplanes, tourism vehicles, booze, and hot air balloons may only be secured for specials visitors thus creating class divisions between locals and tourists (Ross, & David, 2006).

Other effects of Geo-tourism may include effects of unrealistic expectations such as diversion of young people from school in search of brighter future in the tourism industry. Such expectations may lead to an increase of uneducated individuals in society causing a high level of illiteracy. An increased number of dropouts causes leads to a high number of outside hiring of experts and importation of professional that enjoy the facilities and resources from the community. Geo-tourism can contribute to the negative lifestyle by contributing to the spread of diseases and outbreaks. New visitors may bring dangerous infections such as HIV / AIDS and STDs (Neda, Celeste, & Carlos, 2012). Some of the visitors may turn into beggars, hustlers, and substance addicts.  High consideration of foreign visitors may cause divisions among local people and foreigners. Racial discrimination can be caused by the excessive provision of quality resources to visitors to the point of disregarding local people. Situations such as divided institutions characterized by special schools for visitors and locals may arise. Special airports, roads, hotels, and lodges may be developed to serve tourist and deny access to local people.

Conclusion

Geo-tourism is concerned with facilitating environmentally goals that have a total commitment to conserving, maintaining, and ensuring retention of community practices. It focuses on the building of heritage and culture. Everyone has responsible for taking part in promoting factors that promote the tourism industry. Some of the strategies that should be applied include facilitating civil education such as educating tourism professionals, creating awareness among host communities and educating tourists. Local authorities and municipal governments should play their role in ensuring that local facilities cultural practices and traditions have been maintained and securely protected. Indigenous sites such as mountains, forests, trees and animal species should get high-level security to maintain community assets. Local developments should favor both visitors and local people to facilitate equality among various members of society. Security to the society against moral degradations, insecure distribution of drugs, as well as contamination of diseases, should be checked before visitors are allowed to gain access in the country.  However, Geo-tourism principle has mo-re benefits in proper society implementation of its principles can make effective and efficient development in our societies.

References

Anze C., Yunting L., & Young C.Y. (2015).The Principles of Geotourism. USA: Springer

Balkans geo-tourism.travel (2015). About Geotourism. Source: (balkansgeotourism.travel). Retrieved from  http://www.balkansgeotourism.travel/about_geotourism.php

National Geographic (2014). About Geotourism . Source (nationalgeographic.com).  Retrieved from www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable

Neda T. F., Celeste C., & Carlos C. (2012). Geoparks and Geotourism: New Approaches to Sustainability for the 21st Century. USA: Universal Publishers

Ross K. D., & David N. (2006). Geotourism. USA: routledge



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