The nature and management of geotourism: A case study of two established iconic geotourism destinations
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Regional and global geopark networks are rapidly expanding internationally. A key impetus for their establishment is local community development through geotourism, or tourism that is based on sites of geological interest. Geotourism can be a powerful tool for sustainable development but, if not managed effectively, can constitute a direct threat to geoheritage resources. This paper articulates the characteristics and challenges of geotourism by examining two iconic geosites in Taiwan and Australia. Management challenges of Yehliu Geopark (Taiwan) are many, the most prominent ones being congestion, depreciative visitor behaviour and excessive management footprint. Depreciative behaviour is also a significant challenge to Pinnacles Desert (Australia), though congestion is not yet an imminent problem. These two cases illustrate that achieving sustainable visitor use at iconic geosites can be challenging despite the presence of infrastructure, site hardening and interpretation. The importance of visitor management at geoparks and implications for geotourism are discussed.