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Geotourism – Adding Value to Traditional Nature-based Tourism

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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.

Published in: Travel
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Geotourism – Adding Value to Traditional Nature-based Tourism

  1. 1. ‘Geotourism – Adding Value to Traditional Nature-based Tourism’ Interpretation Australia 16th October 2019 Angus M Robinson, Coordinator National Geoscience Strategy Australian Geoscience Council
  2. 2. Australian Geoscience Council  The Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) is the peak Council of geoscientists in Australia representing nine major Australian geoscientific societies with a total membership of over 8,000 individuals.  Under the current 2015-2020 Strategic Plan of the AGC, and as a Geoscience advocacy opportunity, the AGC has decided to formulate a National Geotourism Strategy to accommodate the orderly development of major geotourism projects and activities in line with overseas trends and domestic regional development imperatives.
  3. 3. Today’s Agenda  Ecotourism and Geotourism  Discussion topics of the National Geotourism Strategy  Geoheritage  Geotrails  Geotourism Interpretation  Collaboration with Mining Heritage  Take-Aways
  4. 4. Understanding Natural Heritage Natural heritage is the legacy of natural objects and intangible attributes encompassing the countryside and natural environment, including flora and fauna, scientifically known as BIODIVERSITY, and geology, landforms and soil landscapes, i.e. GEODIVERSITY (Geoheritage)
  5. 5. Ecotourism & Geotourism Concepts  Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing protected natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.  But ecotourism per se is too narrowly defined and is increasingly seen as a niche market.  However 'geotourism is holistic, nature-based and cultural tourism that focuses on an area's geology & landscape as the platform for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment'.
  6. 6. Ecotourism & Geotourism Concepts  Ecotourism is practised predominantly in protected areas such as national parks whereas geotourism is undertaken also in all areas where primary industry activities are being carried out.  Unlike ecotourism, geotourism is increasingly seen globally as an instrument of regional economic development.
  7. 7. Geotourism comprises the following features of both natural and cultural heritage:  Abiotic – non-living aspects such as the sky, climate & geology e.g. landscape and landforms: GEODIVERSITY.  Biotic – the living parts eg. fauna (animals) and flora (plants): BIODIVERSITY.  Cultural – past & present, indigenous and post European settlement, non-living and built. Holistic in scope, geotourism is booming globally and a key driver for tourism, particularly in Europe and Asia. Source: Professor Ross Dowling
  8. 8. ‘Place Based’ Geotourism incorporating all types of ‘nature-based’ tourism Astrotourism Cuisine Agritourism Indigenous Tourism Heritage Tourism Cultural Tourism ECOTOURISM Geotourism i.e. ‘experiential tourism’
  9. 9. Geotourism is not 'geological tourism’'
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. Geotourism Delivery Mechanisms 1. Geosites & Mining Heritage Sites. 2. Geological Time Walks. 3. Geotrails. 4. Geoparks - both national and UNESCO global. 5. Mining Parks e.g. as in China
  12. 12. National Geotourism Strategy – Discussion Topics 1. Geotourism as a means of celebrating geoheritage. 2. Enhanced coordination nationally of geoheritage listings. 3. Establishment of a national set of administrative procedures for ‘georegional’ assessment. 4. New geotrail development. 5. Geotourism to strengthen Australia’s international geoscience standing. 6. Training of geologists to improve communication skills for geosite interpretation. 7. Collaboration with providers of other areas of natural (bioregion) and cultural (particularly mining) heritage content.
  13. 13. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #1 Geotourism celebrating Geoheritage:  By expansion of the Geotourism map concept (as developed in NSW) progressively across Australia on a ‘state by state’ basis (both hard copy and online) supplemented by publications.  By consideration of new ICTs (e.g. smartphones, 3D visualisation, AR & VR), GIS technologies as a cost- effective means of accessing and better communicating geological content for travellers and residents in regional Australia.
  14. 14. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #2 Enhanced coordination nationally of geoheritage listings with the objective of highlighting areas of both geotourism value and geosites that need to be protected, given that  the right balance needs to be determined between the needs of exposing geosites for public visitation and geoconservation needs, and  there are no national standards or guidelines with each state/territory having different strategies and systems for recording geoheritage. •
  15. 15. New National Park at Nilpena Flinders Ranges South Australia Iconic Ediacaran Fossil Site
  16. 16. Iconic Fossil Geosites – Ediacaran & Keichousaurus Nilpena, South Australia Zingyi, Guizhou Province, China
  17. 17. Keichousaurus
  18. 18. Flinders Ranges National Landscape Keichousaurus Conservation Museum, Xingyi National Geopark
  19. 19. Keichousaurus Conservation Museum, Xingyi National Geopark
  20. 20. Age of the Dinosaurs Winton Qld
  21. 21. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #4 New Geotrail Development: Individual geological surveys from the States and Territories be invited to engage, on an ‘as needs’ basis, and in collaboration with university/museum interest groups as well as with state/territory divisions and branches of the interested professional societies, to review the suitability of existing roads, bushwalks, biking and rail trails as potential geotrails.
  22. 22. Why Geotrails?  Relates directly to the tourism experience of a journey linking destinations.  In Australia, unlike geoparks, geotrails have widespread appeal, and do not compete with or impact on land management/access issues.  Geotrails are relatively easy to establish and represent a very cost- effective means of enhancing regional development.  Can form the basis of a 'defacto geopark'.
  23. 23. Best Practice Geotrails  Should be constructed around routes currently used by tourists; geotrails should form logical journeys linking accommodation destinations.  Should meld the geological heritage features of a region with a cohesive STORY.  Should incorporate and package in the biodiversity and cultural components (including mining heritage) of the region through which the geotrail traverses.
  24. 24. 26 • Identify a geoscience theme • Tell a simple story incorporating 'A' + 'B' +'C' elements • Use engaging stories, descriptions and graphics • Deliver supporting information in a range of ways • Collaborate • Link to related features based on science and culture Desired outcomes • increased visitor numbers and regional economic growth • a broader community understanding of science, and in particular, geoscience. Keys to success - Warrumbungles Geotrail
  25. 25. Exemplar: Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail, NSW "The collaborative geotrail project has been led by the University of Newcastle (A) & supported by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, the Geological Survey of NSW (A), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (B) & Birpai Local Aboriginal Land Council (C). Supported by a brochure, website & smartphone app, the Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail is a four kilometre walk from Shelly Beach to Rocky Beach that tells the story of plate tectonics & how the Earth’s crust was formed along the stretch of coastline over the past 460 million years".
  26. 26. Granite & Woodlands Self-Drive Discovery Trail, WA "Take in the expansive views of sandy heathland & spring wildflowers (B) as you pass along the Holland Track, which gives way to nickel & gold mining land (C) around Forrestania Plots. Keep a look out for bush turkeys, dingos or more elusive native animals such as honey and pigmy possums (B),which are sometimes seen around Grevillea Hill. From here the landscape changes (A) to mallee woodland & eucalypts. Explore the rocky outcrops & cliffs of The Breakaways(A) before rolling out your swag at for a night under an amazing star-filled sky (A)."
  27. 27. Island of Tasmania Australia’s Red Centre National Landscape
  28. 28. Iconic Geotourism Themes of Australia’s Red Centre National Landscape  A: Landforms and common geological heritage  B: Red Kangaroo species, and other type flora/fauna  C: Indigenous (and European) culture
  29. 29. Ulladulla Geological Time Walk - Conceived and Created by Phil Smart
  30. 30. ‘Gondwana Coast’ – Fossils Walks Geo-Site & Fossil Display Centre, Ulladulla, NSW
  31. 31. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #6 Professional development opportunities for geoscientists wishing to develop content interpretation and tour guiding skills for enhanced interaction with the public by  engagement with the Savannah Guides organisation, the professional group - Interpretation Australia, and  using best practice audio and multimedia technologies.
  32. 32. Geotourism and the Savannah Guides Network
  33. 33. Savannah Guides at Work, Undara Lava Tubes
  34. 34. Acoustiguide – bringing your stories to life for over 60 years… ▪ Development of scripts ▪ Recording and production of content ▪ Multilingual content creation ▪ Audio & multimedia players for individuals ▪ Flexible and sophisticated group guiding solutions ▪ Smartphones & tablet apps ▪ Onsite services including staffing and operations ▪ Flexible financing options 47
  35. 35. Acoustiguide Mobile With so many significant outdoor sites in Australia where it is impossible to offer hardware to visitors, Acoustiguide Mobile (AM) now offers our clients significant opportunity to share their story. 48 Multi-lingual, Multi-tour, GPS & iBeacon compatible for location based content Content can be arranged into map, salon or list. Tours can be locked, paid or downloadable Stops can play audio, video and show images, credits, and transcripts. Floating camera, social media share, puzzle games and quiz.
  36. 36. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #7 Mechanisms for collaboration with providers of other areas of natural (bioregion) and cultural heritage content,  inclusive of mining and resource industry heritage (e.g. mining companies, geological and mining museums, historical societies,  as well as specialist groups with interests in flora and fauna etc.)
  37. 37. Collaboration with Providers of Mining Heritage  Work with museums, Geological Surveys and community groups to identify, link and promote ‘mining’ museums and heritage centres both nationally and state-wide.  Work with state tourism agencies to promote geotourism and new product development that can include museums and mining heritage sites linked through geotrails.  Encourage the mining industry to sponsor mining heritage projects as an opportunity to enhance ‘social licence’ and Community Social Responsibility commitments.  AGC will be conferring with its constituent professional societies (e.g. The AusIMM, AIG, PESA etc) to determine whether this can be a leadership role for mining professionals.
  38. 38. Central West NSW Geotrail To bring Australia’s ancient history to life by showcasing and linking the extra-ordinary wonders of Country & Outback NSW’s geological, fossil, mineral and first nation stories and treasures, located in museums and caves.
  39. 39. Public Mining & Mineral/Fossil Collections and Tourist Mine Sites – New South Wales Australian Museum Sydney Australian Fossil Mineral and Museum Bathurst Howard Warner Collection, University of Wollongong Albert Kersten Mining Museum, Broken Hill Crystal Kingdom, Coonabarabran GSNSW, Londonderry and/or Maitland (by prior arrangement) Great Cobar Heritage Centre, Cobar Daydream Tourist Mine Broken Hill History Hill Tourist Mine and Visitor Centre Hill End Kandos Bicentennial Industrial Museum Kandos Lithgow State Mine and Heritage Park Lithgow David Edgeworth Museum Kurri Kurri Age of Fishes Museum Canowindra Key: Gold font indicates mineral collections available for public viewing Emmaville Mining Museum Emmaville Mining Museum
  40. 40. Public Mining & Mineral/Fossil Collections and Tourist Mine Sites - Victoria • Museum Victoria (including Geological Survey Collection) Melbourne. • Gold Museum Ballarat. • Sovereign Hill Ballarat. • Other smaller sites, e.g. Bendigo, Walhalla, Korumburra, Wonthaggi. Key: Gold font indicates mineral collections available for public viewing
  41. 41. Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park, Taiwan Herberton Mining Centre and Walking Trails
  42. 42. Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park, Taiwan Chillagoe Smelters Heritage Site, Far NQ
  43. 43. Chillagoe Smelters Heritage Trail
  44. 44. Take-Aways  Geotourism is emerging both as an innovative tool for regional development and enhancing education in the areas of natural sciences and cultural heritage.  The AGC is working with government agencies to put in place a national strategy to facilitate these opportunities.  New ICT technologies and museum interpretation aids offer the opportunity to enhance the visitor experience.  Continuing need to link through geotrails mining heritage into established tourism infrastructure and product offerings.  Need to link through geotrails, and to cross promote mineral and fossil museums (with their outstanding collections).
  45. 45. Contact Details angus@leisuresolutions.com.au Tel: 0418 488 340 https://www.slideshare.net/leisuresolutions http://www.leisuresolutions.com.au/index.php/geotourism-industry-groups/ Information about Australian Geotourism and Geopark Development Activities http://www.agc.org.au/geoscience-in-australia/geotourism/ Australian Geoscience Council

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