Geotourism or Geological Tourism

When talking about Geology themed tourism I would normally us the term ‘Geotourism’. However, after a little research I have discovered that this is more of a collective term. So from now on I am going to use ‘geological tourism’. Although the term has been standardized and ‘geological’ tourism is a little more self explanatory, as a geologist (and being English) I am a little miffed about this!

Bellow is a small extract from my (draft) research report – Hopefully it will help explain why!

Geotourism was first defined by Englishman, Thomas A. Hose in 1995. He stated that geotourism is “the provision of interpretive and service facilities to enable tourists to acquire knowledge and understanding of the geology and geomorphology of a site (including its contribution to the development of Earth sciences) beyond the level of mere aesthetic appreciation.” (1) This definition is widely used throughout the UK and parts of the commonwealth. National Geographic offers an alternative definition. It describes geotourism as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” This definition is commonly used worldwide. (2)

With the ‘correct’ definition still widely debated, The International Congress of Geotourism, under the auspices of UNESCO, meeting at the Arouca Geopark in November 2011, stated in the Arouca Declaration “We recognize that there is a need to clarify the concept of geotourism. We therefore believe that geotourism should be defined as tourism which sustains and enhances the identity of a territory, taking into consideration its geology, environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents. Geological tourism is one of the multiple components of geotourism.” (3)

1. Selling the Story of Britain’s Stone. Hose, Thomas A. 1995, Environmental Interpretation.

2. Tourtellot, Jonathan. UNESCO’s Geoparks “Clarify” Geotourism. National Geographic News Watch. [Online] 16 November 2011. [Cited: 11 3 2014.]

3. Arouca Declaration. The International Congress of Geotourism. Arouca (Arouca Geopark, Portugal): s.n., 12 November 2011.

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