Have you ever wanted to have your own genuine adventure? Do you dream of exploring far off places and immersing yourself in another culture? Stop dreaming, these types of adventures are now possible for young and old travelers alike! There are a variety of vacation options out there that aren’t your standard trip to the beach or amusement park. Your ideal adventure is out there and achievable via geotourism.
What is geotourism exactly? Geotourism is sustainable tourism that promotes the local atmosphere, culture, history, environment, residents, and economy of a geographical region. You can immerse yourself in all the local delights, participate in conservation efforts, local festivities, and really learn about an area from the people who call it home. Many popular destinations have unfortunately become “tourist traps,” designed to suck in tourists with disposable income and simply take their money in exchange for plastic trinkets. You may return home with souvenirs showing where you’ve been, but probably missed the true memory making experiences a destination has offer. With geotourism, you are invited to go behind the scenes, see the things only locals know about, and discover the little-known gems of a geographic region.
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 is the evolution of ecotourism, it takes the concept to the next level by embracing environmentally sustainable travel and extending it to the culture and history of a destination. Geotourism operations actively engage and support local businesses, natural resources, products and services. In many cases, geotourism involves conservation activities, education, and volunteerism – you could help protect hatching sea turtles, plant trees that help prevent erosion, or participate in a coral reef restoration program. Prefer the arts and cultural attractions? No problem! Geotourism activities often include local art programs and community festivities that engage your creative side. There really is something for everyone in geotourism and the wide variety of activities and the possibilities for adventure are endless!
Let’s get to the aspect of geotourism that is near and dear to our hearts: marine conservation. Geotourism promotes the conservation of local natural resources and biodiversity. The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF) is diving into the geotourism market with both feet – we are working with local hotels & resorts, coastal communities, and conservation groups around the globe to bring you a variety of options. Some of the many activities we will offer range from hands-on sea turtle nest protection and kayak-guided mangrove educational tours to coral reef restoration and marine conservation classes with local students. Program availability will vary depending on the location, community needs, and ecosystem. Stay tuned to our website and social media sites for announcements of new projects throughout 2015 and beyond.
Article by Hillary Ballantine:
Hillary Ballantine is from a small town in central Ohio, a long way from the ocean. She became mesmerized by marine life at a very young age, and always knew she wanted to help save the whales. She graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a B.S. in Marine Science and a B.S. in Biology, and is currently attending graduate school at Antioch University New England, earning a M.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology. She has worked with educating the public on marine life at Myrtle Beach State Park, and hopes to further her experience in both the education and scientific aspects of conservation.