Geotourism and Geoparks

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Handbook of Geotourism


Edward Elgar Publishing

Place of Publication

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK


Dowling, R. & Newsome, D.


School of Business and Law




Dowling, R. (2018). Geotourism and Geoparks. In Dowling, R. & Newsome, D. (Eds.) Handbook of Geotourism (pp 276-291). Cheltenham, Gloucestershire: Edward Elgar Publishing


It is difficult to pin down the actual start of the Geopark movement. One version suggests that it was a concept first introduced at the ‘International Declaration of the Rights of the Memories of the Earth’ Convention held in Digne, France in 1991 (Frey, 1993; Jones, 2008). The concept of geological reserves was suggested by geologists who thought that valuing geodiversity was lagging behind that of biodiversity, which was being championed by UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage programmes. The idea of creating a network of geoparks, which would collaborate to protect and promote the European geological heritage through the sustainable economic development of their territories, arose in 1996. The idea came up in a discussion between Guy Martini (France) and Nickolas Zouros (Greece) at the 30th International Geological Congress held in Beijing during the symposium on the protection of the geological heritage (Martini and Zouros, 2001). Originally conceived as geological ‘reserves’, the idea behind the initiative is that true sustainable territorial development could be achieved through the protection and promotion of geological heritage for scientific, educational and touristic activities (Martini, 2003).

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