Monday, July 16, 2007

Geotourism is the new travel trend

Apparently, the newest trend in travel is "geotourism." Just a step beyond ecotourism, geotourism is tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. So instead of staying in a hotel where all the garbage is made into compost and electricity comes from solar panels, geotourism is more about full immersion into a culture.

In an article on Yahoo Travel called Geotourism trend: Authentic travel, the author points out that geotourism is a type of travel that allows travelers to understand the uniqueness of the places they visit. Instead of seeing McDonald's and Wal-Mart, you go to locally based businesses owned by locals employing locals. Excuse me while I get sarcastic here.

Wow! What a concept! That's what travel is in the first place! Basically, it seems to me that all we have done is go full circle in travel trends. From all-inclusive getaways, to theme parks, to eco-travel, to geo-travel. Although, to me geotourism isn't really a trend, I still definitely support the idea of travel to learn more about other cultures and history. I can't get the book Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain out of my head right now. I will try not to be so cynical and realize that I am just being a travel snob. The redeeming aspect of this article is that they listed links to the center for sustainable travel at my favorite magazine, National Geographic. Maybe it's just a form of marketing: buy the new and improved travel with new packaging. Maybe I should be happy if people embrace the idea of "geotourism" as I have always endorsed travel with purpose. If so, get out there and geotravel, people!


Anonymous said...

"Wow! What a concept! That's what travel is in the first place!" Well said! That was my reaction as well..

The term is so new that few tourists use it. But it's on the lips of travel professionals who describe it as a step beyond the better-known environmentally friendly ecotourism. While geotourism encourages treading lightly on nature, it's also about authenticity and making a place better by visiting and spending money.

GeoTourism??? Thanks Madison Avenue! Now would you please tell us exactly how GeoTourism benefits the people in the place visited?

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