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."
Geotourism goes beyond "drive through" travel. By focusing on the meaning of "place," it the community becomes a full partner in giving the visitor an authentic, enriching experience. The concept of Geotourism emphasizes local culture, products and traditions, and offers visitors multiple opportunities to explore an area's natural beauty and human community.
Geotourism protects resources that often have been damaged by well-meaning visitors, through stewardship that keeps growth to sustainable levels and directs it to local attractions in addition to well-known attractions also in the area. Negative impacts such as overcrowding and pollution are reduced because of this commitment to distributing tourism 'beyond the guidebook.' It benefits locals by promoting local services and assets, while responding to visitors' needs by educating residents and showing them the true value of their own hometown.
Because the Four Corners landscape is renowned throughout the world, the principles of Geotourism offer special opportunities for a meaninful exchange between residents and foreign visitors here. Its core values of respect for local culture and a deeper, richer visitor experience are well suited to the region.
Sustainable tourism, like the physician's code of ethics, means "first, do no harm."
Sustainable tourism protects its most valuable asset - the destination itself. It seeks to avoid the "loved to death" syndrome by anticipating development pressures and implementing limits and management techniques that preserve natural habitats and views, heritage sites, and community traditions.
It conserves resources. Environmentally conscious travelers patronize businesses that reduce pollution and waste, energy consumption, water usage, landscaping chemicals, and excessive lighting.
It respects local customs and history. Foreign visitors learn local etiquette, including common phrases in the local language. Residents learn how to accommodate foreign expectations that may differ from their own.
It aims for quality, not quantity. Destinations measure tourism success not just by the number of visitors, but by their length of stay, how they spend their money, and the quality of their experience.
Geotourism, Also Sustainable
Geotourism adds to sustainability principles by building on a destination's geographical character, its "sense of place;" in celebrating the special quality of its locale, visitor and resident alike.benefit.
Geotourism is synergistic: The complex elements of geographical character work together to create a tourist experience richer than the sum of its parts, appealing to visitors with diverse interests.
It involves the community. Local businesses and civic groups cooperate in the interest of a distinctive, authentic visitor experience.
It educates both visitors and hosts. Residents discover their own heritage by learning that what they may take for granted can be compelling to outsiders. As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their home, resources are protected and tourists have a better visit.
It benefits residents economically. Travel-related businesses hire local workers, and use local services, products, and supplies. When community members understand the benefits of Geotourism, they take responsibility for destination stewardship.
It supports integrity of place. Destination-savvy travelers seek out and are attracted to businesses that emphasize local character. In return, resident stakeholders who receive economic benefits appreciate and understand the need protect to those assets.
Finally, the practice of Geotourism creates unforgettable trips. Enthusiastic visitors return home with exciting new information and understanding, and their stories encourage others to plan their own adventure, continuing healthy business for the destination.