Geotourism takes Center Stage
The three winners of the Changemakers/National Geographic "Power of Place" Geotourism Challenge received winner certificates from John Francis (photo above, far left), National Geographic's Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration, and Charlie Brown (photo, far right), Ashoka Changemakers Executive Director on the Geotourism Change Summit on Feb. 2 at National Geographic's headquarters in Washington, DC.
"I just love the inventiveness – the new genres of tourism being presented here," said Change Summit keynote speaker James Gilmore, co-author of The Experience Economy and Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want. Geotourism is part of the emerging experience economy, and demonstrates how the authenticity of placemaking is replacing the phoniness of marketing, he said.
The term geotourism is gaining acceptance, noted Jonathan Tourtellot, the director of National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destinations who is credited with coining the term. It 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 projects protect the environment but they also help improve local residents' living standards by providing sustainable development opportunities. Geotourism could make a significant impact because "tourism is by, some measures, the biggest business on the planet," said Tim Kelly, president of National Geographic's Global Media Group.
Three projects - PEPYS, NatureAir, and Wikiloc - were voted the winners by the Changemakers online community. These winners met with the other Geotourism Challenge finalists as well as experts in geotourism, members of the tourism industry, the media, and other interested organizations at a Geotourism Change Summit Meeting.
The summit was a showcase for innovative ideas, and a chance to explore how to advance the field of geotourism.
The three winners are:
The finalists are:
- Ger to Ger Foundation’s Nomad Centered, Community-based Cultural Eco-Tourism
- Evergreen Brick Works
- Youth Heritage Exchange Farm Excursions
- Context Travel’s Sustainable Travel Initiative
- RiverIndia.com’s Bamboo Eco-Lodge River Trips
- Trout Point Lodge
- Reality Tour Viagens e Turismo Ltda’s Route of Freedom
|[banner-25556:]From left: John Francis; Winners: Daniela Papi (PEPY), Alex Khajavi (NatureAir), Jordi Ramot (Wikiloc); Charlie Brown||37.51 KB|