What is Geotourism?
Most of us have heard of ecotourism, which is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas while preserving the environment and improving the well-being of local people.”
Geotourism takes this concept to the next level by incorporating the concept of environmentally sustainable travel and extending it to the culture and history of a destination as well.
The concept of geotourism was first clearly established and defined by the National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations. MOSF follows many of the guidelines detailed in their Geotourism Charter statement.
Benefits of Geotourism:
Conservation – Geotourism sustains, or even enhances, a destinations environment for future generations. Programs protect the world’s distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship.
Integrity – Destination-savvy travelers seek out businesses that emphasize the character of the locale. In return, local stakeholders who receive economic benefits appreciate and protect the value of those assets.
Community Pride – Residents take pride in their locale by learning that things they take for granted may be interesting to outsiders. As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their home, tourists get more out of their visit. Local businesses and civic groups join to provide a distinctive, authentic visitor experience.
Economics – Geotourism businesses hire local workers and use local services, products, and supplies whenever possible. When community members understand the benefits of geotourism, they take responsibility for destination stewardship.
Rich Visitor Experiences – All the elements of geographical character work together to create a tourist experience that is richer than the sum of its parts, appealing to visitors with diverse interests. Enthusiastic visitors bring home new knowledge and their stories encourage friends and relatives to experience the same thing, which brings continuing business for the destination.
MOSF is partnering with tourism bureaus, governments, travel companies, tourism specialists, and conservation groups—along with residents and travelers themselves—to implement geotourism programs and disseminate information that promotes a sustainable, beneficial approach to tourism.