Who are geotourists? A case study from Jordan

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. K. & Allan, M. (2018). Who are geotourists? A case study from Jordan. In R. Dowling & D. Newsome (Eds.), Handbook of Geotourism (pp 76-86). Edward Elgar Publishing.



It is acknowledged that the assessment of tourism needs a precise and common definition of its concepts. Even though there have been important advancements in the past decades, the general state of tourism’s terms and definitions including that of tourists, is one of fuzziness and contradiction (Murphy, 2004). This view is supported by McCabe (2005: 85) who concludes ‘although greater understanding of the tourist has been identified as one of the principal research issues for tourism research, the focus is on types and forms of touristic experience rather than uses of the concept of ‘tourist’ as a lay category, thereby taking for granted its function within a wider cultural discourse of holidaymaking and travelling’.

Despite there having been an increase in literature on the form, definition and nature of geotourism, and geosite potential and development in recent years, empirical research remains scant (Boley and Nickerson, 2013). For example, there is an apparent lack of studies in the tourism literature focusing on geotourists. A study predicting the behavioural intention of international tourists towards geotours in Egypt found that the literature review relevant to geotourism is limited and that statistical information on geotours and tourists in Egypt is lacking (Soliman and Abou-Shouk, 2017). Hence, the emergence of an exact geotourist typology model provides a better understanding of the segments within this niche tourism market and will contribute to more precise geotourism product development and marketing. It can also provide an insight into destination choice, which can be employed to build a competitive advantage (Dowling, 2013). Thus, the main purpose of this study is to shed light on the concept of the geotourist through a case study of their characteristics and behaviour at Wadi Rum in Jordan.



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