What is geotourism and how can it impact a region?

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Abstract

The perceived inabilities of mass tourism to fully benefit a place’s character have led to a global concern for the tourism destinations’ future managed under the model of mass tourism. This universal concern on how tourism can adversely impact the character of the place has presented itself in the emergence of different types of sustainable tourism like ecotourism, integrated rural tourism, community-based tourism and currently geotourism. This paper focuses on geotourism which is a niche market part of sustainable tourism that expounded by the National Geographic as “tourism which keeps sustains or promotes the geographical trait of location – it’s surrounding, a way of life, aesthetics, heritage as well as residents’ wellbeing. This study focuses on this definition given by National Geographic and develops a real as well as valid instrument to measuring individual’s touristic behavior. The paper outlines Geotourism impacts and uses it towards demographics at different geotourism MapGuide.

                                                                 Introduction

The current trend of protecting nature has in the recent improved its design to conservation with great care to endangered as well as rare species. Unluckily, this is mainly for the protection of flora and fauna which in many cases marginalizes aspects of non-living nature or geodiversity. Seen as a strong as well as endurable natural treasures, geo-diversity elements are always degraded by people’s ignorance or because of to their economic as well as functional values (Newsome, & Dowling, 2010).The greatest way to conserve geodiversity is through raising awareness in the public on its scientific, aesthetic, educational as well as touristic values by promotion and popular interpretation of geotourism. Most of such sites, traditionally identified and lurid only among scientific sect, could become greatly recognized and valued. Therefore, geotourism as currently redefined is the promotion of geologic as well as geomorphic sites for scientific as well as societal importance to ensure their preservation for future academics, tourists, and casual recreationists’ purposes. It, therefore, means reaching out to the public. Modern geotourism became conceived in the United Kingdom as a way of promoting and providing some fiscal resources for geo-conservation initiatives. It emerged as a counter force to the great loss of sites characterized by geological and geomorphologic attraction. The object of this project is to determine both the negative as well as the positive impact of geo-tourism to a place.

Action Plan

There are arrays of dimension in which the effects of geotourism on a region can be looked at. The reason is that there are many impacts that this phenomenon has on a location.  The broad dimension is to look at the benefits and disadvantage of geotourism.  Places have abundant geological as well as geomorphic features.  Hence, the tourism management can give holistic geological tourism products that have the ability to enhance the general tourism products and attract a new part of tourists (Newsome, & Dowling, 2010). It always gets suggested that some great geological sites in places can become promoted as possible tourism sites like s and Islands.  Geotourism development in places brings different outstanding advantages to the general tourism industry. Hence, such enhancement may promote the mature as well as the scope of the tourism suppliers as well as products in a region.  This may end up bringing financial as well as social advantages for the local people near geosites. Focusing on this, it can be argued that geotourism developments bring   different benefits to a region.

Focusing on how Geotourism Can Maximize Economic Benefits for Local Tourism and Drive Economic Development for Regions

The World Travel and Tourism Council assert that the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP of countries is great.  The reason is that Travel and Tourism give jobs directly.  Geosites always predict that Travel and Tourism account for a great number of jobs directly. Therefore, while looking t the impact of geotropism on a region; focusing on people who have secured jobs in geotourism is very important. Development of geotourism in an area can also enhance the local economy, specifically, the remote geological tourism locations. For instance, there are over 5000 show caves in the world that produce over $US 2 Billion annually and give over 200.000 direct employment opportunities (Newsome, & Dowling, 2010). Therefore, geotourism can play a vitally important role in promoting the economic richness in the potentials regions in any part of the world and promoting the sustainability in development within such regions. In a UNESCO report of 2008, it was reported that geotourism is one of the amalgams of geological preservation, economic practices as well as supporting financial resources of a region’s society. Therefore, geotourism is one of the economic successes –focused as well as the fast-moving aspect of new tourist enterprise sector involving robust multidisciplinary dimension.

Focusing on the Well-being of Local Communities near the Geological Tourism Locations

Geotourism encompasses the aspect of sustainability and promotion of local features of the locations through the encouragement of the use of local products as well as activities. Thus, it can enhance the local economy by providing and increasing opportunities for employment for the locals develop varieties of productions among the local groups, and support income generating sources for the region. Geotourism also strengthens the link between the locals and their land.

Focusing on the Promotion of Knowledge and Education As Well As Enhancement of Geological Awareness

From the geotourism perspective, knowledge remains as one of the greatest influential results of any geotourism adventure. Thus, educational purpose of geotourism cannot be overemphasized. This encompasses the sense of wonder, appreciation as well as learning. Furthermore, it is described from geotourism role in geotourism learning as additional information or doubling the value of a tour. The same view remains widely supported by many people. Currently, geotourism has become a new movement assisting people to promote their knowledge of natural resources, the cultural identity of visitors as well as strategies to preserve them. Therefore, geotourism in an area empowers the locals to attain knowledge as well as an understanding of, geomorphology, geology, natural resources, and the visiting communities at various geosites in the region (Newsome, & Dowling, 2010).  Getting this knowledge is helpful from the fact that it enhances efforts for preserving as well as sustains the gifts of nature and raising the awareness of values of geo- resources. Therefore, looking at the relationship between knowledge enhancement and geotourism can reveal the effect the geotourism has in the region.

Focusing on the Protection and Sustaining of Geo-heritage in a Region

As a way of determining how geotourism affects a region, focusing on protection and sustainability of geo-heritage remains a vital component. Geotourism enhances tourism to regions as well as the preservation of geo-diversity and knowledge on earth sciences by appreciating and learning. Therefore, geotourism remains as an important tool in protecting region’s special geological value. Geotourism also promotes awareness towards the intrinsic benefit of geological features those results to the valorization of the same features. Hence, geotourism focuses on generating geotourism products that secure and protects geo-heritage.

Focusing on Geotourism Additional Value to Region’s Tourism Products and Contribution in the Diversifications of Tourism Products

Tourism attraction Classification in different places always gets restricted to some kinds of historical and heritage tourism, beach tourism as well as MICE or (Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) tourism. Regions can have established cultural resource base, to lure leisure as well as business travelers, with diverse and developing   global fairs and exhibitions and many creative products. One of the main regions is that some regions are not characterized by many natural resources (Torabi, 2012). Currently, there is the little focus given to the geological as well as geomorphic treasures in the tourism products in some regions. Therefore, geo-heritage is remains neglected in many regions’ tourism industry.  Despite this trend, many regions continue to promote a focus on geotourism, particularly embarking on geotourism sites (Newsome, Moore, & Dowling, 2013).  For instance, Australia stands out as one of the countries that have given full focus to geotourism. It has even made geotourism attractions to be the main tourism attractions in the greater part of its borders.  This initiative has made Australia be able to protect and promote its iconic geological locations like Kata Tjuta and Uluru.  Therefore, the potential impacts of geotourism to on a region can be looked t regarding employment opportunities, local community development, education and knowledge, diversification of tourism products, drivers of economic development and protecting and sustaining geo-heritage (Torabi, 2012). Hence, development of geotourism does not only appeal to the outbound tourists but also a great attraction to domestic tourism that encourages the experiencing of domestic tourism products.

Focusing on the Negative Effects of Geotourism

The impact of geotourism to a region can be looked at from disadvantage point of view. Depending on the dictates of the situation and implementation, some disadvantages can turn to positive impacts. Cultural destruction through modernization, freezing of culture as performers can also be led by geotourism (Newsome, Moore, & Dowling, 2013). Geotourism can also lead to environmental destruction through activities such as game drives, resorts, and playgrounds. It also leads to marginal employment on the local people from the fact that it demands low-skill, menial services, and hustlers. Therefore, despite the fact that geotourism has many positive impacts on the region, it also poses some threats that when not managed well, it can negatively affect the region.

Data Gathering

A study on geotourism always demands subjects who can act as participants in offering information that leads to measurable conclusions. It is asserted that there are two main types of geotourism groups whom vital data on can be got.  The first vital group in data gathering includes the educational group.  This group can comprise of students from all educational levels ranging from preschool to postgraduate with a specialty in geological studies or a related discipline as well as those with dedicated geotourism provision (Garofano, 2010).  The second group that is important in data gathering is the recreational group which includes a variety of recreational persons from beginners to the experts. Some classifications of geo-tourists include the common visitors with an interest in one or more geological parts, the devoted inexpert and experts of geology as well as landforms and types of student groups. They also include academic staffs who involve themselves in conferences and trips, pubescent academic classes, merchant and entrant as well as landscape photographers, artists and historians (Newsome, Moore, & Dowling, 2013). Geo-tourists can also be independent persons and groups that visit geological tourism sites. Additionally, they may travel to geological regions in different areas. Studies show that those geotourism participants in Jordan are always characterized by young and middle-aged, educated, domestic as well as international tourists. It was also discovered that they always prefer using the internet as key information and key intrinsic motivations being; running away from daily routine; leisure, enjoyment and a sense of wonder. It also included knowledge. Therefore; it can be argued that the likely geotourism groups to act as places to gather data on geotourism are the common visitors as well as vacationers characterized with general interests in diverse tourism attractions. Geologists as well as geology devotees with main attraction to geological phenomena with some geological sense and some special interest tourists with one or more particular interest in the geological tourism sites also form this group (Torabi, 2012). Similarly, academics as well as different educational groups traveling to geosites to enlarge their understanding andlearning the values of geotourism remain as the best sources of data. Therefore, gathering data on the impact of geotourism on a region is a task that must involve different sources.  Despite the fact that the communities in such locations are vital in giving data on the impacts, different geo-tourists are also very important.

Conclusion and Implications

Inside an important field of tourism, a limited number of studies have focused on geo-tourism development as well as geo-tourists. Hence, the considerably extra effort could be made to analyze the nature as well as the scope of geotourism in different locations to comprehend this subject better.  Therefore, this paper focused on exploring geotourism development on a region and its effect by looking at the aspects of geotourism supply as well as demand in the any region.Additionally, this paper might enlarge the knowledge on geotourism as well as its participants in a region. Geotourism development in any region can lead to many advantages to diverse stockholders who take part in geotourism initiatives like private and public sectors, local communities as well as the non-government organization. The likely impacts of geo-tourism in a region include enhancement of local economy; promotion of geological awareness; improvement in the wellbeing of the local people among others (Newsome, Moore, & Dowling, 2013). Tourism management in any region must always adjust its geological tourism products so as to lure new tourist segments referred to as geo-tourists. Mountains, valleys, and caves are one of the potential geological tourism places with a great attraction for diverse geo-tourism practices in the world .summed up; many implications of this paper will be of great use to geo-sites administrators as well as marketers in different localities (Chen, Lu& Ng, 2015).  It assists the geotourism managers as well as marketers greatly to know the entire aspect of geotourism development in their regions.  Specifically, managers have a responsibility of availing the necessary geotourism supply that encompasses an entire bundle of products and services like geological accommodation, attractions, activities as well as access. Additionally, it assists them to apply the aspect of sustainability through the development of equilibrium between developing sites for geological tourism as well as the preservation of such sites. Similarly, geotourism development managers in any region must consider the importance of analyzing the geotourism demand through a good understanding of the population, motivations, perceptions as well as preferences to the potential geotourism participants.

Recommendations

Other undertakings on impacts of geotourism on a region present a big leap forward in geo-conservation as well as geotourism. Today’s focus need to be placed on the development of touristic infrastructure. This must come in the form of site-interpretative panels, developing tracks, training initiatives as well as other educational practices that can results in the enhancement of geo-conservation as well as holistic geotourism. Similarly, in addition to other complementary natural as well as cultural values of regions, it is clear that some regions present a timely approach as well as sustainable (geo) touristic places (Newsome, Moore, & Dowling, 2013).  Geo-conservation needs to remain a dynamic strategy to preserving and maintaining geosites well as geo-morpho sites. It must accept that some change remains compulsory and can be a strategy of promising continuous availability to geological as well as geomorphologic features. Hence, it is similarly vital to know the importance of implementing and executing geo-conservation initiatives as well as integrating them in tourism enhancement. In this process, these   key elements will lead to a holistic expansion of geotourism. Therefore, practicing this offers a necessary initiative towards geo-tourism not just from a regional perspective but also on a global dimension as well. This paper recommends that further focus need be undertaken in the nature as well as the scope of the link between geotourism development and the local people who are adjacent to geosites. This can help in profiling geo-tourists segment to identify their motivations as well as attitudes toward geotourism firsthand experiences.  In the process of achieving double goals for sustainability in tourism development, focus on target marketing as well as careful management strategies for visitors is a must activity. In the process of promoting geo-tourism, there are some recommendations that are vital to both the host and the visitors. The visitor must always act in support of cultural diversity and always engage in practices that add value to the region and the society. Visitors must also avoid activities which deteriorate the environment (Newsome, Moore, & Dowling, 2013).  They need to avoid engaging in illegal practices and should always act to disperse the advantages. Patronizing locally owned enterprises can also boost geo-tourism. Similarly, the host has his responsibilities to carry. Supporting the traditional cultural legacy need to be the primary focus. Training, as well as education in local culture, can also help to promote geotourism, history, and natural science. The hosts must also choose development as well as practices that draw from local culture and add value to the region.  Promoting activities that deteriorate the environment must be avoided at all cost.

References

Chen, A., Lu, Y., & Ng, Y. C. Y. (2015): The principles of geotourism

Garofano, M. (2010): Geotourism: The geological attractions of Italy for tourists. s. l.:       Geoturismo.

Newsome, D., & Dowling, R. K. (2010): Geotourism: The tourism of geology and landscape.       Woodeaton, Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Ltd.

Newsome, D., & Dowling, K. (2010): Global geotourism perspectives. Woodeaton, Oxford:         Goodfellow Publishers Ltd.

Newsome, D., Moore, S. A., & Dowling, R. K. (2013): Natural area tourism: Ecology, impacts,    and management. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

Torabi, F. N. (2012): Geoparks and geotourism: New approaches to sustainability for the 21st       century. Boca Raton: Brown Walker Press.

 



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