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Geoparks: A global approach to promote sustainable tourism for local communities

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by Dr Young Ng, Geotourism Workshop, Global Eco 2015

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Geoparks: A global approach to promote sustainable tourism for local communities

  1. 1. Geoparks: A global approach to promote sustainable tourism for local communities Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference 2015 Rottnest Island, WA 17-19 November, 2015 Expanding Ecotourism Horizons Dr Young Ng Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong Copyright reserved Young Ng 2015
  2. 2. Outline 1. Geopark: concept & principles 2. Social benefits 3. Economic benefits 4. Cases in China 5. Conclusions
  3. 3. 1. Geopark: concept and principles
  4. 4. 4 spheres of Planet Earth & environment Atmosphere Hydrosphere (sea, rivers, underground water) Biosphere (plants, animals) Lithosphere (land, rocks, soils) • Least known • Least protected • Stories untold
  5. 5. UN’s protection programmes and initiatives • Man & Biosphere (651 sites in 120 countries) • World Heritage Listing (1031 sites in 163 countries) • Global Geoparks Network (120 sites in 33 countries) (Sources: UNESCO’s MB, WH, GGN 2015)
  6. 6. • Geopark: ‘an area with particular geological heritage with international significance but also with a sustainable development plan or strategy involving local communities’. (McKeever 2015) • A holistic approach to manage and protect geological heritage with the consideration of their interaction with the biological and cultural environment, particularly the livelihood of the people living within or near them.
  7. 7. Geopark’s objectives & mission Sustainable development Conservation Education
  8. 8. All these factors generate geotourism and ecotourism opportunities Education Conservation Sustainable development Community engagement Networking
  9. 9. Ecotourism and geotourism Ecotourism: ‘Ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation’. (EA 2015) Geotourism: ‘Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents’ (National Geographic 1997) ‘Tourism which focuses on geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning, and enjoyment’. (GSA 2015)
  10. 10. Nature-based & cultural tourism Geology & landscape Culture/ history Ecology Other environmental components (Ecotourism) (Cultural tourism) (Geotourism)
  11. 11. Principles of geotourism • Geology as a basis • Experiences enjoyment, learning Sustainable manners of enjoying, learning and engaging experiences • Raises awareness, interest, appreciation, understanding of geoheritage and geoconservation • Communicates geosciences with understanding geology through effective interpretation and story-telling skills • Fosters sustainable tourism and local development • Takes place in anywhere, any season and at anytime • Geopark and mining parks are ideal venues for geotourism activities
  12. 12. Geotourism & Geopark • Geopark branding = quality assurance • Regular national and international quality monitoring of the site and its services • Geopark: ideal platform for geotourism Tranquil environment Outstanding and attractive scenery Internationally significant geological and geomorphological features with good interpretation World class management and services Superb facilities and reasonable accessibility Excellent safety and security measures
  13. 13. 2. Social benefits
  14. 14. • Revives deprived areas, towns and villages • Engages local communities • Preserves local culture • Establishes strong local, national, regional and international networks • Creates strong sense of place and identity • Develops sense of pride and belonging
  15. 15. 3. Economic benefits
  16. 16. Economic benefits to local communities • Geoparks driven by geotourism • Encourages investments • Generates businesses • Creates jobs • Improves livelihood
  17. 17. 4. Chinese cases
  18. 18. 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 2004 2005 2006 2007 Huangshan Lushan Stone Forest Wudalianchi Danxiashan Yandangshan Ningde Hexigten S L H Y W D N H Number of tourists before (2004) and after (2007) the establishment of geoparks (in million) (Source: CGN 2014) Case 1 Performance of 8 geoparks in their first 4 years
  19. 19. 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2004 2005 2006 2007 Huangshan Lushan Stone Forest Wudalianchi Danxiashan Yandangshan Ningde Hexigten L H Y W D S H N Total geotourism related revenue Before (2004) and after (2007) the establishment of geoparks (in million CNY, USD1 = CNY 6.3) (Source: CGN 2014)
  20. 20. Jiaozuo City Case 2 Yuntaishan Geopark, Jiaozuo, Henan
  21. 21. Jiaozuo (JJ) phenomenon • Jiaozuo City, Henan Province – poor, environmentally devastated coal mining city, heavily polluted , low employment city in 1999 • In 1999, GDP dropped by 16%, tax revenue fell by 24% • Yuntaishan Geopark was established and used to transform Jiaozuo City in 2001 • ‘Jiaozuo Phenomenon’ – A model of geopark-induced drastic change as geotourism related income increased by nearly 50 times from 0.6 billion in 2001 to 25 billion in 2012
  22. 22. 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 35.0 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 No. of tourists Million Comparing 2000/2014 + 29.6 million + > 8 times JJ Phenomenon - Number of tourists to Jiaozuo City 2014: 33.0m 2000: 3.4m Source: Jiaozuo 2014 Yuntaishan Global Geopark
  23. 23. 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 JJ Phenomenon - Total geotourism related revenue, Jiaozuo City (in billion CNY, USD1=CNY 6.3) Total tourism revenue (in billion CNY) Billion CNY Comparing 2000/2014 + 24 billion + > 40 times 2000: 0.6 b 2014: 25 b Source: Jiaozuo 2014
  24. 24. Ancient volcano (caldera) Changyu Town Shanghai Changyu Quarry and Cave Case 3 Changyu Cave, Yandanshan Global Geopark
  25. 25. Changyu Cave • Six geosites (Eight Fairy Cave, Sky & Heaven Cave, Water & Cloud Cave, Double Gate Cave, Double Gate Sculpture, Sunset Cave) and one Panda House
  26. 26. Transforming & restoration projects • Total quarry area 16.18 sq. km • Shapes of pits – Open or closed/underground bench-like, perpendicular, bell-like • 28 tunnel systems, 1,314 grottos • Hammered and chiseled manually for over 1,500 years • Largest man-made cave in the world (Guinness Record 1998) • Artefacts: bridges, roads, floodgates, wharfs, slabs, houses, window frames, arches, tombs, posts, household utensils, tools • Taoist, Buddhist temples, concert hall • 1st stone culture museum in China – 5 exhibition areas
  27. 27. Environmental improvement • Upgrading the overall environment • Solving environmental problems – tailings, dust, flooding, safety, water quality, toxic soils, abandoned machines and equipment, improve aesthetic value Before After
  28. 28. No. of visitors 0 200000 400000 600000 800000 1000000 1200000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 No. of visitors No. of visitors +43% Source: YDS Management Authority 2014 0.69m 0.99m
  29. 29. Ticket revenue 0 5 10 15 20 25 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 CNY in million Ticket sale (CNY) +184% 20.53m (USD3.34m ) Source: YDS Management Authority 2014 7.24m (USD1.18m)
  30. 30. Non-ticket revenue 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 CNY in million CNY in million +32 times Source: YDS Management Authority 2014 0.28 m 9.12m (USD1.45m) (USD0.05m)
  31. 31. 5. Conclusions
  32. 32. • Nature-based tourism is about telling stories of our Nature • Telling stories of our Earth has long been missing or insufficient in nature-based tourism and this can be done through geotourism and geoparks • Geotourism can grow better and faster with geopark • UNESCO Global Geopark is a global movement and is moving very fast in the past decade • Geopark is more than just rocks, it comes together with a sustainable management and development strategy of our geological heritage benefiting local communities • Many successful cases in China may provide insights for some similar sites in Australia and other areas in the Asia Pacific region
  33. 33. Thank you! young@rocks.org.hk

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