Geotourism

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What is geo-tourism and how can it impact a region?

Abstract

Geotourism is a distinct form of tourism that goes beyond ordinary travel. As tourist destinations become more homogenous and globalized, the global population of tourists increases.  The input of regional communities is important in providing an enriching and authentic experience. This form of tourism is committed to maintaining biodiversity and conserving resources. Geotourism is a form of tourism that improves and sustains the geographical character of a place including its environment, aesthetics, culture, heritage, and the welfare of its residents. Geotourism approach of tourism arose from the need to encourage community and economic development while protecting the environment from exploitation.  Geotourism is beneficial to the economy and the environment as it encourages sound destination stewardship that limits negative impacts including resource pollution and overcrowding and promotes sustainable growth. When inhabitants recognize the benefits that accrue to Geotourism, they get a sense of duty to safeguard the value of and take responsibility for their destination’s assets. The basis for the type of stewardship is entrenched in the concept of sustainable tourism. The paper is a proposal to conduct a study on Geotourism and its impacts to a region.

Introduction

A region is unique for its unique focus on both its natural and cultural aspects. The community around features may work together allow accessibility to visit pleasant places. Passing along natural and cultural features results in good experiences. Geotourism is a form of tourism that improves and sustains the geographical character of a place including its environment, aesthetics, culture, heritage, and the welfare of its residents. This type of tourism strengthens, preserves and draws outs unique and special nature of the culture, environment, aesthetics, heritage for the benefit of the community. Geotourism brings out the relationship between the personality of a place and tourism, resulting in a “sense of place”. While ecotourism focuses on the nature and a niche market, Geotourism incorporate all things that give a place its uniqueness.  Geotourism is founded on stewardship and sustainable tourism. Geotourism is naturally sustainable; nevertheless, it emphasizes the natural and human characteristics that make a location worth visiting.  Such include flora and fauna, archeological areas, historic buildings, grand scenery, traditional architecture, food as well as handicrafts, music, dance and other forms of art.

Background

Environmentalists have made significant effort to make the general public aware of the value of safeguarding the quality of an environment. Many people understand the consequences of the different transgressions committed against nature so as to further particular industries. Such activities have resulted in a massive decline in the well-being of the environment and communities living around it. Protecting the environment does not only affect people but also other habitats including plants, animals, and other natural structures.

 

Encouraging community and economic development while protecting the environment from exploitation is one of the major reasons that have influenced the establishment of diverse approaches to tourism The most common basic approaches to tourism include sustainable tourism, ecotourism, and geo-tourism. Geo-tourism has often been referred to as the knowledge-based tourism.  Geo-tourism seeks to provide visitors with pertinent information on the formation of a place’s geomorphology and geology. As such, geo tourism goes beyond just showing off beautiful sights. It takes things an inch higher by educating tourists of how events and places came to be. For example, tourists may be educated on cave’s inner structure, rock formations and its mineral components and features including stalactites and stalagmites. Additionally, geo tourism is also important in encouraging both the tourists and the local community to work together in preserving the quality of every geological site by following the set guidelines.The word “Geotourism” is derived from geography. It focuses on what places are rather than simply where places are. Geotourism is what makes one place different from the next (Hose, 2006).

The combination of elements forms a “sense of place.” Given that many tourists travel with various interests, Geotourism’s holistic approach avails a synergistic effect such as eco, adventure or historic tourism. Geotourism speaks to a wide possible market compatible with sustaining a location’s unique qualities. At its simplest Geotourism is a form of tourism with a connection to geomorphology or geology. Geotourism goes beyond ordinary travel. It recognizes the input of regional communities in providing the tourists with an enriching and authentic experience. Tourists learn more about the local culture and traditions as they are provided with in-depth opportunities to enjoy the destination’s unique biodiversity and natural beauty. Geotourism is beneficial to the environment as it encourages sound destination stewardship that limits negative impacts including resource pollution and overcrowding and promotes sustainable growth. Geotourism is important to residents as it promotes employment and local services. Geotourism also benefits tourists by educating residents concerning their needs and expectations (Newsome & Dowling, 2006).

Sustainable tourism safeguards its product-the destination. It does this by employing limits and management techniques while anticipating development pressures. The balance helps in the preservation of heritage sites, natural habitats, local culture and scenic appeal. Resources are conserved through these activities. Environmentally aware tourists patronize enterprises that reduce waste, pollution, energy consumption, landscaping chemicals, water usage, and excessive nighttime lighting.Geotourism respects local traditions and culture. Foreign tourists learn local etiquette while the communities learn how to appreciate foreign cultures and practices which may differ from their own.  Geotourism aims at quality, not quantity.  Geotourism destinations evaluate the success of tourism success not just by numbers of tourists rather by how they spend their cash, length of stay and the quality of experience (Newsome & Dowling, 2006).

 

Objectives

  • Determine the meaning of Geotourism
  • Determine the impact of Geotourism to a region
  • Determine why regions need Geotourism

Literature review

Geotourism has certain characteristics which differentiate it from other forms of tourism. The first one of these characteristics is that Geotourism is environmentally responsible. This form of tourism is committed to maintaining biodiversity and conserving resources. Geotourism is also culturally responsible and dedicated to building on local heritage and respecting local sensibilities. Geotourism is synergistic and brings together different elements of geographical character to produce a travel experience that is rich and appealing to tourists with varied interests. Geotourism cannot be described as a niche market. As tourist destinations become more homogenous and globalized, the global population of tourists increases. Geotourism principles resonate well with most travelers across the globe (Newsome et al., 2012).

There are numerous benefits associated with Geotourism. Geotourism contributes positively to the economy of a particular destination. Enterprises in the area use local workforce, products, services, and materials to generate business for Geotourism. When a community recognizes the beneficial role of Geotourism, it is an incentive for great destination stewardship. The second benefit of Geotourism is that it supports the integrity of the place. Destination-savvy tourists seek out enterprises that accentuate the character of the location. Revenues obtained from tourism increase the locally perceived value of assets (Dowling & Newsome, 2010).

The third benefit of Geotourism is that it informs both hosts and visitors. The community discovers its own heritage and how the familiar and ordinary may interest people from different locations. As the community develops skills and pride in showing off their destination, visitors get more out of their stay.Geotourism is important as different types of responsible tourism are inclined to being fragmented and viewed as niches: heritage tourism, ecotourism, agritourism and geological tourism. Sustainable tourism is also perceived as focused on the environment. Unlike the common forms of tourism, Geotourism approach is not a niche. Given that Geotourism features the destination as a whole, this approach can make stronger the case for beneficial responsible tourism by embracing all tourism assets uniquely distinct to the destination.  Allied advocates also establish a constituency of stewardship for important community assets. Alliances achieve economic and political clout to challenge local threats to cultural and natural resources while constructing a distinct marketing case for the locale (Farsani et al., 2011).

When inhabitants make recognize the benefits that accrue to Geotourism, they get a sense of duty to safeguard the value of and take responsibility for their destination’s assets. The basis for the type of stewardship is entrenched in the concept of sustainable tourism. However, limits and pressure must be applied to promote the preservation of local culture, natural environment, heritage sites, natural habitats and scenic appeal while maintaining development pressures that preserve. Geotourism is a great way to think about tourism.  Geotourism is an important contribution to the economy through the creation of jobs for local people: drivers, tour companies, guides, food outlets and accommodation providers (Dowling & Newsome, 2010). Due to such interesting features, a Geotourism Destination can effectively compete with other tourism attraction sites in the world(Hose, 2003). Other additional benefits of Geotourism include its ability to reduce minimizes the negative impacts of tourism including environmental pollution. Locations that embrace Geotourism implement experience greater gains from tourists. On the other hand, Geo tourist benefit from the locale with an exceptionally rich experience that entails an immersion in the heritage, culture and the natural resource of a particular tourist destination. Tourists do not only help improve the economy but also aid in protecting the environment. Geo-tourism respects local culture and tradition.  Most geo-tourists will also patronize business entities such as hotels, resorts or restaurants that function under environment-friendly conditions (Pralong, 2006).When tourism satisfaction is enhanced, tourists promote the destination upon return to their place of origin. They may also promote the place through social media in their efforts to inform friends regarding their positive travel experience. The knowledge obtained from the trip may also be impacted to others. Individuals who hear these tales get encouraged to visit the geo-tourist destination (Newsome et al., 2012).

Action plan

The researcher will adopt an Epistemology philosophy to determine ways in which data about a Geotourism will be gathered, analyzed and used. The approach to the study is a factor of the appropriate methodology for this type of research.  The approach then influences the choice of the most suitable method applicable in collecting data and underpinning the research work.  The objectives of the study also influence the choice of the study approach. The study will aim at determining the meaning of Geotourism and its impacts on a particular region.  Typically, the purpose of conducting a quantitative study is largely to authenticate an idea or theory by conducting an experiment and then examining the results numerically.  The approach would not be suitable for this type of study since the study aims at searching for the impact of Geotourism. As a result, the study requires a more inductive approach.  Additionally, the findings of the study will not necessarily be generalized to a large population.  The study is specific and focused at relating a current problem for a particular location.  The type of study requires the employment of qualitative study methodology.

The research study will entail compilation of data from individuals. The proposed approach of study is the Case study methodology.  A case study design is an investigation strategy that requires the researcher to focus attention on an in-depth examination of a single unit of study or a few cases which are examined intensively. In comparison to other approaches, a case study is an equivalently popular method of research. The researcher will use surveys for collecting information necessary for the study. This is the most suitable approach to try to establish the impact of Geotourism.  The approach will allow the researcher to take into account individual’s account of reality. Since the study will entail the impact of Geotourism in a certain locality, the results can be inferred from the particular destination to a similar one.

A qualitative study approach is chosen for the purpose of this project. A Qualitative research tries to answers problems systematically. It makes use of measures that are defined before the study to answer questions, to collect data and to generate findings not previously programmed. These findings are pertinent beyond the close limits of the study. Qualitative research is important when it is essential to explain variations, to describe and explain an association between factors, to depict experiences and behavior. A qualitative study is investigative in character and is helpful when the researcher is short of knowledge of the vital variables to examine. The qualitative approach will be appropriate given that the subject is new; the issue has never been widely tackled using a definite sample or group of people. Given resource limitations to conducting research in all different countries, a case study of will be more appropriate for the purpose of this study.

Data gathering

The researcher plans to conduct a systematic research review so as to familiarize with the topic in question. A systematic research review is a summary of the literature.  Conducting a systematic research review requires a precise and reproducible approach to systematically explore, critically evaluate, and synthesize on a particular issue. The researcher will obtain information from literature so as to synthesize the results of related multiple primary studies. Often, research reviews include a synthesis of literature obtained from closely related studies to produce meaningful results that arise from their integration. The researcher will also use literature reviews to determine where knowledge is lacking. More data will be collected using survey approach. Questionnaires will be utilized as the instrument for data collection.

The choice of the technique is informed by different issues. First, the thought that the achievement and validity of a survey rest on the degree to which individuals’ view is truly reflected in the research by the researcher.  Questionnaires will be administered to participants. The questionnaires will comprise of open-ended questions which will allow participants to make detailed answers to questions. Questionnaires will be distributed online in the form of online surveys. Survey is selected due to its ability to allow the researcher to reach a large number of participants. Additionally, participants will have more freedom to express their answers in their terms. The data collection method will also provide the chance to generate rich, dependable and proportional qualitative data.  In addition, data collected will be investigated using different ways to produce findings. Also, the chosen data collection technique will help the researcher to prepare ahead of time for data gathering. Therefore, surveys will be used as the major data collection instruments.

A letter of introduction will first be developed at the beginning of the study and sent through the mail to all of the survey participants. The details of the research study will be discussed in advance with the participants. Before answering the questions, the purpose of study and questions will be explained to the participants so they could simply respond to questions. Questions will be categorized thematically so as to allow the researcher to analyze the data to arrive at a study finding. With the kind of data collection instrument, it will be possible to obtain more related data that will likely arise from answers gathered from the respondents.

 

Conclusion

The most common approaches to tourism include sustainable tourism, ecotourism, and geo-tourism. Geo-tourism is committed to maintaining biodiversity and conserving resources while improving and sustaining the geographical character of a place including its environment, aesthetics, culture, heritage, and the welfare of its residents. It is founded on stewardship and sustainable tourism.  Geotourism is characterized by a holistic approach that avails a synergistic effect such as eco, adventure or historical tourism. Geo-tourism is also important in encouraging both the tourists and the local community to work together in preserving the quality of every geological site by following the set guidelines. The form of tourism speaks to a wide possible market compatible with sustaining a location’s distinct qualities. Geotourism contributes positively to the economy as well as the environment of a particular destination. There are various benefits that will be derived from the study. Despite the positive impact of Geotourism, comparatively modest academic studies explore the impact of Geotourism. This study calls consideration to the void in the study literature by focusing on the topic of Geotourism. Additionally, the study will enhance an understanding of Geotourism as a touristic and an academic activity by making efforts to make Geology an attractive issue away from the complexity of geological processes and scientific concepts.  The study will also encourage other locales to adopt the concept of Geotourism based on the evidence of positive impacts that will be presented in the findings. Communities can adopt the concept and improve economic development while protecting the environment from exploitation.

References

Dowling, R. K., & Newsome, D. (2010). Geotourism: the tourism of geology and landscape.

Dowling, R. K., & Newsome, D. (2010). The future of geotourism: Where to from here?. Goodfellow Publishers Limited.

Farsani, N. T., Coelho, C., & Costa, C. (2011). Geotourism and geoparks as novel strategies for socio‐economic development in rural areas. International Journal of Tourism Research, 13(1), 68-81.

Hose, T. A. (2003). Geotourism in England: a two region case study analysis (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Birmingham).

Hose, T. A. (2006). Geotourism and interpretation. Geotourism, 221-241.

Newsome, D., & Dowling, R. (2006). The scope and nature of geotourism. Geotourism. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 3-25.

Newsome, D., Dowling, R., & Leung, Y. F. (2012). The nature and management of geotourism: A case study of two established iconic geotourism destinations. Tourism management perspectives, 2, 19-27.

Pralong, J. P. (2006). Geotourism: A new form of tourism is utilising natural landscapes and based on imagination and emotion. Tourism Review, 61(3), 20-25.

 

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