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A presentation to the 2019 Annual Conference of 'Interpretation Australia', Melbourne, October 2016
Geotourism, a holistic form of nature-based tourism, is a significant emerging and growing global phenomenon. Geotourism focuses on an area's geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment'. It has links with adventure tourism, cultural tourism and ecotourism, but is not synonymous with any of these forms of tourism, although in broad terms it actually embraces them all. Geotourism adds considerable content value to traditional nature-based tourism (the primary motivator of travel to Australia) as well as cultural tourism, inclusive of indigenous tourism, thus completing the holistic embrace of ‘A’ (abiotic – landscape and geology) plus ‘B’ (biotic – flora and fauna) plus ‘C’ (culture) aspects. The Australian Geoscience Council is currently consulting with state/territory government agencies with the aim of developing a national strategy predicated on consideration of a number of broad topics including the following.
• Geotourism as a means of celebrating geoheritage by expansion of the geotourism map concept progressively across Australia on a ‘state by state’ basis, as well as consideration of new ICTs (e.g. smartphones, 3D visualisation, AR & VR) and GIS technologies as a cost effective means of accessing and better communicating geological content for travellers and residents in regional Australia.
• New geotrail development – local, regional and national engagement to open up dialogue with existing walking, biking and rail trail interest groups and operators to highlight the availability of quality geoscience data.
• Consideration of establishing a national set of administrative procedures for ‘georegional’ assessment to provide for potential geopark nomination at state and national levels.
• Mechanisms for collaboration with providers of other areas of natural (bioregion) and cultural heritage content, inclusive of mining heritage.
• Professional development for geoscientist guides in interpreting natural and cultural heritage as tour guides.