The Australian Geoscience Council is currently implementing a National Geotourism Strategy, launched on 7th April 2021 by AGC President David Cohen, and which is being designed to support the orderly development of major geotourism projects and activities in line with overseas trends and domestic regional development imperatives.
Tourism Industry development benefits can be realised through the holistic approach of geotourism which enhances the value of traditionally structured, nature-based tourism by generating new product development (i.e. including geology, landscape, flora and fauna, as well as cultural heritage attributes, both Aboriginal and post European settlement, including mining). In essence, in Australia, geotourism has been defined as ‘tourism which focuses on an area’s geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment’. At the same time, the pursuit of geotourism offers the potential for new industries and employment opportunities through the development of major projects within Australia.
The Strategy, is being guided by a specialist reference group led by former Chair of the Australian Geoscience Council, Dr Jon Hronsky OAM, who considers geotourism as a very effective way of communicating the value of geoscience to the broader Australian community. Improving the profile of the geosciences will help attract more of our top students to become professional geoscientists and support national efforts in protection of the environment, dealing with geological hazards, and discovery of the next generation of metal deposits that will underpin growth in renewable energy and the use of smart materials.
The National Geotourism Strategy has seven strategic goals. These span pathways for identifying and implementing major geotourism projects, to the development of digital platforms to provide information for travellers on geological features in the landscape. The Strategy will link three ‘geos’ – recognising our geoheritage and establishing new geotrails that are suitable for various styles of geotourism. The strategic goals encompass:
1. Development of new digital technologies to highlight and interpret natural and cultural heritage, highlighting geology and landscape, for a wide spectrum of visitors.
Working Group Chair: Mark Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Define an approval pathway for major geotourism projects.
Working Group Chair and Strategy Coordinator: Angus M Robinson, email@example.com
3. Establish a framework for creating high quality, sustainable geotrails.
Working Group Chair: David Robson, firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Establish a national framework for geoheritage listings suitable for geotourism.
Working Group Chair: Jason Bradbury, Jason.Bradbury@dpipwe.tas.gov.au
5. Develop geotourism in regional mining communities with potential geoheritage and cultural heritage sites.
Working Group Chair: Dr Melinda McHenry, email@example.com
6. Strengthen Australia’s international geoscience standing through geotourism excellence.
Working Group Chair: Dr Bill Shaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Develop and enhance the geoscience interpretation and communication skills of everyone actively involved in the presentation of geosites, enabling the provision of accurate and thematic information in an accessible manner.
Working Group Chair: Simone Meakin, email@example.com
Australian Geoscience Council www.agc.org.au The Australian Geoscience Council Inc (AGC) is the peak Council of professional geoscientists in Australia. It represents nine major Australian geoscientific societies with a combined membership of over 8,000 geoscientists in industry, government, or academia in the fields of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, mineral and energy resources, environmental geoscience, hydrogeology, geomorphology, and geological hazards.