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Tourism Earth Science: An emerging discipline generating new opportunities for earth scientists, by Anze Chen, Young Ng and Tao Xu

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Presentation to the Australian Earth Sciences Convention, 27th June, 2016

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Tourism Earth Science: An emerging discipline generating new opportunities for earth scientists, by Anze Chen, Young Ng and Tao Xu

  1. 1. Tourism Earth Science: An emerging discipline generating new opportunities for earth scientists Anze Chen, Young Ng & Tao Xu Adelaide, Australia 27 June, 2016 2016/7/6 Australian Earth Sciences Convention 2016
  2. 2. Outline 1. Background 2. Definition 3. Content 4. Opportunities 5. Challenges 6. Conclusions
  3. 3. 1. Background • Developed in the 80s by the research team of Professor Anze Chen of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences together with colleagues of the Geological Society of China • Social and economical needs – China’s economic and tourism developments since early 1980s • Development needs of Earth Sciences – new applications in studying resources management, particularly in locating, assessing, planning, managing, interpreting, developing and conserving tourism resources
  4. 4. 2. Definition • A multi-disciplinary academic subject adopting knowledge and methodology of Earth Sciences to understand, study, plan, protect and utilise tourism resources (Chen 1985) • A new branch of Earth Sciences to study tourism, leisure, rejuvenation activities and their relationship with the composition, structures, energy movement and changes of Earth’s surface. It includes tourism environments involving geology and geography and therefore is a fusion of tourism geology and tourism geography (Chen & Lu 1991) • An interaction between Earth Sciences and tourism combining tourism geology and tourism geography, primarily using the theories and methods of Earth Sciences, art, landscape study, environmental sciences and tourism study to address tourism issues associated with the phenomena on Earth (Chen 2013) It becomes an academic discipline leading China’s tourism to adopt a more environmental friendly, scientific and knowledge-based approach in conducting tourism activities
  5. 5. 3. Content Tourism Earth Sciences Tourism market Tourism managemen t Geoparks Tourism resources
  6. 6. Tourism market Source of tourists • Distribution • Geographical, climatic, transportation, population, economic characteristics
  7. 7. Tourism resources • Study of nature tourism resources • Types, formation, distribution, values (aesthetic, scientific, educational, economical, social), development methods, gemstones, tourism products • Cultural landscape related to the geological and environmental backgrounds e.g. ancient architecture, landscape, relics, grottos, cave temple, cave/rock paintings and inscription/carving
  8. 8. Tourism management • Tourists, facilities and transportation • Roads, trails, boardwalks, routes design and constructions • Site selection for buildings and infrastructure • Assessment of geological backgrounds of spas, resorts and natural healing sites (radioactive, magnetic, trace elements, ionic, water quality, natural hazards)
  9. 9. Geoparks • Design, planning, nomination and evaluation • Management - manpower allocation, management structure/system, tourist surveys & monitoring, sister parks establishment/exchanges • Geological surveys, mapping, inventory/data lists, heritage protection, hazard monitoring • Education - Geological museum, video/movie production, web sites, interpretative panels, field guides, geological tour maps, pamphlets/booklets, books
  10. 10. • Training – geopark management and guide training • Research – geological, cultural and tourism research • Geopark products – design, production, sale and marketing of souvenirs, local products
  11. 11. 4. Opportunities • Education & research • Geoparks and geoconservation • Tourism and economic development • Exchanges – domestic and international
  12. 12. Education & research opportunities • China – over 40 colleges and universities offering courses of Tourism Earth Sciences • Since 2015, undergraduate degree course in Tourism Earth Sciences is offered by the China University of Geosciences (CUG, Beijing) and Chang’an University (Xi’an) • CUG Beijing – over 50 PhDs, 60 masters • Annual funding by Chinese government for research in geoparks – totalled CNY 2.8 billion (USD 70 millions) up to 2015
  13. 13. • Total research projects in the past 20 years: > 5,000 • CUG Beijing – 50 projects completed, total value CNY 10 millions (USD 2.5 million) • 3,049 papers published (until 2012)
  14. 14. Geoparks and geoconservation opportunities • The concept of geopark was first advocated by Chinese geologists in the 80s • Tourism earth scientists and the Ministry of Land and Resources had established the first batch of national geoparks in China in 2000 • Currently, 241 national geoparks were approved, 191 officially opened • UNESCO’s Earth Science Division proposed the setting up of Global Geoparks Network (GGN) in 1997
  15. 15. • First GGN meeting was held in 2004 in Beijing. 21 sites around the world became global geoparks. Eight are from China, others are from Europe • Office of GGN is set up in Beijing under the Ministry of Land and Resources • Current: 120 global geoparks in 33 countries
  16. 16. • Geological survey, assessment of scientific, aesthetic and tourism values, grading • Evaluation/classification: - 4 levels of geoparks: Global, national, provincial and local levels - 4 levels of protection: Special, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th levels • Protection strategies, policies, laws and regulations – funded, formulated, implemented by Government • Since 2010, protected over 3,000 geological heritage sites by restricting industrial and mining activities
  17. 17. Geoscience popularisation• Geological museums for geoscience promotion and popularisation – 200 sites • Geological interpretive boards for public – 12,000 sets • Booklets, pamphlets, audio-visual materials of understanding geology – 1,700 types, > 10 million copies • Science popularisation activities >6,200 times • Summer camps/ workshops >700 times • Others – co-operation of geopark with schools, universities, NGO, volunteers
  18. 18. Tourism and economic development opportunities • Up to 2015, no. of tourists visiting geoparks in China: 436 million - Ticket revenue CNY 22.6 billion - Indirect revenue CNY 21.6 billion - Direct jobs created 0.26 million - Indirect jobs created: 2.2 million - New motels/farm stay: 23,100 • Example Yuntaishan Global Geopark, Henan Province: 2001 – national tourist attraction – ticket revenue 2002 – national geopark established 2010 – ticket revenue CNY 570 million (CNY 4 million in 2002), no. of staff: 2,705 (79 in 2001), average annual income CNY 50,000 (CNY 400 in 2002)
  19. 19. Exchange opportunities • Bilingual web sites in both Chinese and English • Information exchange with other geoparks in China and around the world • Sister parks: 40 partners around the world • Mutual visits among the geoparks • Conferences/training workshops - Global Geopark Conferences/Symposium in 2004, 2006, 2007 & 2008 - International Conference of Granite Landscape in 2006 - International Conference of Zhangjiajie Landform in 2010 - African Aspiring Geoparks Workshop since 2012
  20. 20. 5. Challenges • Lack of tourism earth scientists • Support of universities • Support of tourism authority (China’s Tourism Bureau & Ministry of Land and Resources: Memorandum of enhancing scientific elements in national tourism 2016-2015)
  21. 21. 6. Conclusions • Tourism Earth Sciences is a multi-disciplinary subject serving tourism industry by adopting knowledge and methods of earth sciences • End of mining boom opens up new opportunities for geotourism and geoparks • Geotourism & geoparks offer tremendous opportunities for engagement of earth scientists and invigorating development of Earth Sciences • Geotourism when properly planned, managed and promoted is environmental friendly and can be used forever for the benefits of local communities (better than a gold mine!) • NOW is the best time to consider establishing Tourism Earth Science as an academic subject to train more staff to meet the needs of the market.
  22. 22. Thank you! young@rocks.org.hk

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