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Geotourism is emerging as an exciting new element within the overall experiential tourism mix. This presentation details some new resaerch findings from Australia.

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  1. 1. ‘ GEOTOURISM: WHO IS A GEOTOURIST? 2008 Inaugural National Conference Green Travel, Climate Change and Ecotourism Angus M Robinson 18 November 2008
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda <ul><li>High-yield, ‘experiential’ tourism? </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Geotourism concepts. </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges of new product innovation . </li></ul><ul><li>Geotourism Research project. </li></ul><ul><li>Demographics/Lifestyle considerations. </li></ul><ul><li>Geotourists and Alumni groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions. </li></ul>
  3. 3. ‘ High-Yield’ Tourism - New Product Development <ul><li>Australian Government’s Tourism White Paper (2004) encourages tourism stakeholders to be pro-active in developing new and innovative products and experiences with a focus on developing’ high-yield’ niche markets . </li></ul><ul><li>Other countries and regions also emphasise the importance of effective niche marketing to ‘high yield’ visitors to maximise optimal returns on tourism investment. </li></ul><ul><li>An understanding of the yield potential of different source markets and segments can underpin destination marketing by both public and private sector organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>(Professor Larry Dwyer, Qantas Professor of Travel and Tourism Economics, UNSW) </li></ul>
  4. 4. ‘ Experiential’ Tourism - New Product Proposition <ul><li>The global market is looking for unique product experiences and a broader mix of experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>The group tour market is well suited to this new approach. Customers for tours have become more sophisticated, well traveled and discerning and generally come from higher socio-economic demographics . They are also intelligent, ‘thinking’ travelers. </li></ul><ul><li>The incorporation of the geotourism experience with traditional nature tourism and elements of cultural tourism creates a more holistic experience , and is a move towards the ‘experiential’ tourism model. </li></ul><ul><li>In short, ‘experiential’ tourists seek memorable experiences . </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Concepts – Sustainable Geotourism <ul><li>Geotourism is ecotourism or tourism related to geological sites and features, including geomorphological sites and landscapes ( Joyce 2006 ). </li></ul><ul><li>Geotours visit natural scenic landforms and explain the surface and deep processes that shaped them. Tourists, seeking to have the natural environment interpreted for them, can expect explanations of geology as well as flora and fauna, creating a holistic view of ecosystems . </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Geotourism and Geotours enhances their support for the conservation of ecosystems for future generations. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Geotourism (US Definition) <ul><li>Geotourists are ‘sustainable tourists’ – three segments: </li></ul><ul><li>Geo-Savys - <35 y.o., well educated and environmentally aware. </li></ul><ul><li>Urban Sophisticates – affluent, focusing on cultural and social aspects of tourism. </li></ul><ul><li>Good Citizens – older, less sophisticated, but socially conscious. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Geotourism: The New Trend in Travel (Travel Industry Association of America, 2003) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Sustainable Geotourism Proposition <ul><li>The incorporation of the geotourism experience (local not US definition) with traditional nature tourism and elements of cultural tourism creates a more holistic experience, and is a move towards the experiential tourism model . In short, ‘experiential tourists seek memorable experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>In this sense, sustainability is achieved through providing a high quality experience encouraging return visitation, and attracting new customers by ‘word of mouth’. </li></ul><ul><li>Geotourism has great potential as a new niche ecotourism product. However, it will still require the same disciplines that apply to other niche, ‘high value’ tourism activities. </li></ul>
  8. 8. New Product Commercialisation <ul><li>The concept of innovation: </li></ul>Turning ideas Into products That people want And are willing to pay for Source: Hamish Hawthorn, ATP Innovations
  9. 9. What does your customer want? <ul><li>The first challenge an entrepreneur faces is always market validation – why? </li></ul><ul><li>What problem do you solve with your innovative product or service? </li></ul>Source: Hamish Hawthorn, ATP Innovations
  10. 10. Selected Market Segment Niche – Geotourists All to be Validated <ul><li>Geo/Ecotourism? </li></ul><ul><li>Inbound or outbound or both? </li></ul><ul><li>+ 45 y.o. demographic – ‘Baby Boomers Plus’? </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Live-Wire’ lifestylers? </li></ul><ul><li>Which Alumni channels? </li></ul><ul><li>Group Travel or FITs? </li></ul><ul><li>The desired product proposition is: inbound/outbound geotourism group tours for alumni baby boomers?? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Geotourism Destination Niche? <ul><li>Overseas – Holistic (e.g. Breifne Project Ireland, ) </li></ul><ul><li>or Geo iconic ( e.g. Grand Canyon ) or geo-park </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic – Holistic (e.g. Australia’s National Landscapes ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>or Geo iconic ( e.g. Bungle Bungles WA ) or a geopark (e.g. Kanawinka) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Market Research Brief – Geological Society of Australia (GSA) Members <ul><ul><li>Who are the potential travelers and what are their demographic characteristics? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are their potential interests in geotourism in Australia and around the world? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the purposes for their visits? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How likely will they be to commit to a geo-tour within two years time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint market research project with Edith Cowan University © </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Market Research Brief – GSA Members <ul><ul><li>2,300 members surveyed by mailed questionnaire. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>159 responses, 7% of total sample. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>also included some respondents from the recent inaugural global geotourism conference in WA. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Wants and Needs – Geotourism for GSA Members ? <ul><li>Geocontent – High </li></ul><ul><li>Geocontent - Low </li></ul>Travel Need - Low Travel Need - High Professional Geoscientists Trained Geoscientists ? ? ? ?
  15. 15. GSA Members – Geotourists Gender Gender female male Frequency 125 100 75 50 25 0 Gender
  16. 16. GSA Members – Geotourists Demographics Age Group 70 and over 65-69 55-64 45-54 25-34 15-24 Frequency 50 40 30 20 10 0 Age Group
  17. 17. GSA Members – Geotourists Education Education 2nd Degree 1st Degree Undergraduate Frequency 100 80 60 40 20 0 Education
  18. 18. GSA Members – Geotourists Employment Employment Sector Academia Consulting Government Industry Frequency 30 20 10 0 Employment Sector
  19. 19. GSA Members – Geotourists Families Family characteristics Other 'Empty Nest (Retired)' 'Emplty Nest' (still working) Couple with Dependent Children One Parent Family Young Single (no dependent children) Frequency 50 40 30 20 10 0 Family characteristics
  20. 20. GSA Members – Geotourists Incomes Gross family weekly income (AU$) $2000 or above $1000-$1999 $1-$999 Nil income Frequency 60 40 20 0 Gross family weekly income (AU$)
  21. 21. GSA Geotourists Five Most Important Travel Purposes <ul><li>Increasing knowledge of geological sites and landforms. </li></ul><ul><li>To satisfy my curiosity. </li></ul><ul><li>To have a memorable experience . </li></ul><ul><li>To obtain intellectual stimulation . </li></ul><ul><li>Visiting destinations offering a unique bundle of features and attractions (i.e. ecology, geology, culture and history). </li></ul>
  22. 22. US ‘Geotourism’ Survey Five Most Important Travel Purposes <ul><li>Trips to favourite destinations I have been to before. </li></ul><ul><li>Travel to destinations where I can experience the outdoors but still have comfortable accommodations . </li></ul><ul><li>Travel to destinations I’ve heard about from friends and relatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Trips where I can walk around in historic/charming towns/locations. </li></ul><ul><li>Trips to family-friendly destinations. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Geotourism: The New Trend in Travel (Travel Industry Association of America, 2003) </li></ul>
  23. 23. GSA Geotourists Three Least Important Travel Purposes <ul><li>Being able to share my travel experience after returning home. </li></ul><ul><li>Visiting destinations offering a wide variety of cultural/art events and attractions. </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting new people as part of a group tour. </li></ul>
  24. 24. New Geotourist Age groups? <ul><li>50 – 59, late working life, ‘empty- nesters’ </li></ul><ul><li>55 – 64, early post retirement </li></ul><ul><li>65 - 69, late post retirement </li></ul><ul><li>+70, ‘later in life’ </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Tourism Research Australia, 2008 </li></ul>
  25. 25. Taiwan Inbound Tourism Data (1999 to 2006) Tourism Research Australia <ul><li>Variation IVS year 2006 compared to nine year average </li></ul><ul><li>20 to 24: -24.3% </li></ul><ul><li>25 to 29: -30.6% </li></ul><ul><li>30 to 34: -24.9% </li></ul><ul><li>35 to 39: +29.6% </li></ul><ul><li>40 to 44: -37.8% </li></ul><ul><li>45 to 49: -0.3% </li></ul><ul><li>50 to 54: -49.9% </li></ul><ul><li>55 to 59: +69.9% </li></ul><ul><li>60 to 64: +37.7% </li></ul><ul><li>65 to 69: +19.1% </li></ul><ul><li>70 and over: +93.2% </li></ul>
  26. 26. 50 – 59, Late Working Life – ‘Empty-nesters’ Age Segment <ul><li>People in their late working life (ages 50-59, with or without children) are generally ‘empty nesters’. </li></ul><ul><li>Possess large discretionary incomes , as they are generally debt free after having paid off their mortgages. </li></ul><ul><li>Their children will have completed or neared completion of their higher education, and most will no longer have older children living at home. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Tourism Research Australia, 2008 </li></ul>
  27. 27. 55 – 64, Early Post Retirement Age Segment <ul><li>People in their early post retirement (ages 55-64, not working). </li></ul><ul><li>They are also largely debt free with even more discretionary income available for travel purchases. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Tourism Research Australia, 2008 </li></ul>
  28. 28. Marketing to the ‘Baby Boomers’ <ul><li>Age Group, 45 to 62. </li></ul><ul><li>But lifestyle rather than age predicts actual behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Live Wires’ Lifestyle (17% of the +50 market in the U.K., average age of 58) – people who have busy and fulfilling lives – they enjoy technology and are keen to keep up to date with the latest developments . Their main priority is to continue enjoying their comfortable existence. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketed through ‘alumni’ groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the older woman ! </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Dick Stroud, 2007 </li></ul>
  29. 29. Segmentation - Lifestyle <ul><li>Affluence – High </li></ul><ul><li>Affluence - Low </li></ul>Progressive - Low Progressive - High Bittersweet Live Wires Rat Race Junkies Source: Stroud D – 20plus30
  30. 30. Marketing of Geotourism Suggested Alumni Groups <ul><ul><li>Geoscience professional societies e.g. GSA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other professional groups – engineers, doctors etc? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geography Teachers - Environment/Geography? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bushwalking Groups? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community and Social Clubs – e.g. Rotary, Probus? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other institutional Alumni – universities, museums? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friends groups - National Trust etc? </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Market Research - Geotourists Preliminary Conclusion No 1 <ul><li>72% of respondents fell in age category 45-70 years old. </li></ul><ul><li>96% of respondents have first or second degree education level. </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents have different social and esteem needs and wants, have good gross income and will be able to afford travel to geotourism sites in Australia and overseas. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Market Research - Geotourists Preliminary Conclusion No 2 <ul><li>Strong indication of interest in visiting geotourism sites, </li></ul><ul><li>visiting destinations offering a unique bundle of features such as ecology, experience of different cultures and history by satisfying their curiosity, </li></ul><ul><li>enjoying outdoor activities, and </li></ul><ul><li>accepting simple but comfortable accommodation . </li></ul>
  33. 33. Market Research - Geotourists Preliminary Conclusion No 3 <ul><li>Female respondents place a higher level of importance on visiting destinations offering a unique bundle of features such as ecology, experience of different cultures and history. </li></ul><ul><li>Female respondents place a higher level of importance on enjoying fine foods and wines. </li></ul><ul><li>Note: 16% of respondents were female; female membership of the GSA is less than 3%. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Market Research - Geotourists Preliminary Conclusion No 4 <ul><li>Respondents prefer to travel to an Australian and overseas geo-site independently rather than take group tours. </li></ul><ul><li>Comment: This finding may result from the fact that such tours do not exist at present, or if they do, they do not satisfy the customer’s needs and wants, and may also relate to the ‘individualist’ characteristics of geologists! </li></ul>
  35. 35. Taroko Gorge – Taiwan Perfect for Geotourists!
  36. 36. m <ul><li>CONTACT DETAILS </li></ul><ul><li>Angus M Robinson </li></ul><ul><li>& Dianne Tompkins PhD (W.A.) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>+61 (0) 418 488 340 </li></ul>