Journal of Tourism Futures
School of Business and Law
Wheatbelt Development Commission Wheatbelt Development Commission's Royalty programme Wheatbelt Community Chest Fund
Purpose: This study aims to provide an overview of the current socio-political geopark situation in Australia and set this into a global context. In addition, the authors consider this information to be useful for all stakeholders involved in geopark research and development. An analysis of constraints is set alongside stakeholder views collected from remote rural Western Australia. The authors also place Australia in a global context in regard to the future of geoparks. Design/methodology/approach: Vital contextual information regarding the tourism significance of geoparks is sourced from key literature. The authors analyse and report on the situation surrounding the current lack of enthusiasm for the geopark concept by the federal government and states in Australia. The authors also report positive rural community stakeholder views on geopark development from regional Western Australia. Findings: While Australian federal, as well as state governments have yet to accept geoparks, stakeholder research in Western Australia supports the idea of geopark development. Learnings articulated in this viewpoint are relevant to any country pursuing and initiating the geopark concept. The authors posit that global geopark development can become a vital strategy in post-COVID-19 tourism recovery planning. Originality/value: Australia currently does not have a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)-recognised geopark. Accordingly, the authors present a case for geopark development, while at the same time exploring the socio-political reasons behind the lack of geopark implementation in Australia. The authors consider the future of geoparks in the global context and reiterate the point that geoparks are important for COVID-19 recovery of tourism and in regard to UNESCO's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
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Briggs, A., Dowling, R., & Newsome, D. (2021). Geoparks–learnings from Australia. Journal of Tourism Futures. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1108/JTF-11-2020-0204