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Presentation to a Field Trip meeting of the The Australasian Universities Geoscience Educators Network (AUGEN), January 2020, Tasmania

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  1. 1. ‘Geotourism - Opportunities for Employment’ AUGEN, January 2020 Angus M Robinson Coordinator, National Geotourism Strategy
  2. 2. Australian Geoscience Council  The Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) is the peak Council of geoscientists in Australia representing eight major Australian geoscientific societies with a total membership of over 8,000 individuals.  Under the current 2015-2020 Strategic Plan of the AGC, and as a Geoscience advocacy opportunity, the AGC has decided to formulate a draft National Geotourism Strategy to accommodate the orderly development of major geotourism projects and activities in line with overseas trends and domestic regional development imperatives.
  3. 3. Today’s Agenda  Understanding National Heritage  Ecotourism and Geotourism  National Geotourism Strategy Discussion Topics  Geotrails  Tourism Earth Sciences  Geotourism and Employment Opportunities  Take-Aways: Major Geotourism Development in Australia
  4. 4. Understanding Natural Heritage Natural heritage is the legacy of natural objects and intangible attributes encompassing the countryside and natural environment, including flora and fauna, scientifically known as BIODIVERSITY, and geology, landforms and soil landscapes, i.e. GEODIVERSITY (Geoheritage)
  5. 5. Ecotourism & Geotourism Concepts  Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing protected natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.  But ecotourism per se is too narrowly defined and is increasingly seen as a niche market.  However 'geotourism is holistic, nature-based and cultural tourism that focuses on an area's geology & landscape as the platform for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment'.
  6. 6. Ecotourism & Geotourism Concepts  Ecotourism is practised predominantly in protected areas such as national parks whereas geotourism is undertaken also in all areas where primary industry activities are being carried out.  Unlike ecotourism, geotourism is increasingly seen globally as an instrument of regional economic development.
  7. 7. Geotourism comprises the following features of both natural and cultural heritage:  Abiotic – non-living aspects such as the climate & geology e.g. landscape and landforms: GEODIVERSITY.  Biotic – the living parts eg. fauna (animals) and flora (plants): BIODIVERSITY.  Cultural – past & present, indigenous and post European settlement, non-living and built. Holistic in scope, geotourism is booming globally and a key driver for tourism, particularly in Europe and Asia. Source: Professor Ross Dowling
  8. 8. Geotourism incorporating all types of ‘nature-based’ tourism Sightseeing Cuisine Agritourism Indigenous Tourism Heritage Tourism Cultural Tourism ECOTOURISM Geotourism i.e. ‘experiential tourism’
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. Geotourism Delivery Mechanisms 1. Geosites & Mining Heritage Sites. 2. Geological Time Walks. 3. Geotrails. 4. Geoparks - both national and UNESCO global. 5. Mining Parks e.g. as in China
  11. 11. National Geotourism Strategy – Discussion Topics 1. Geotourism as a means of celebrating geoheritage. 2. Enhanced coordination nationally of geoheritage listings. 3. Establishment of a national set of administrative procedures for ‘georegional’ assessment. 4. New geotrail development. 5. Geotourism to strengthen Australia’s international geoscience standing. 6. Training of geologists to improve communication skills for geosite interpretation. 7. Collaboration with providers of other areas of natural (bioregion) and cultural (particularly MINING) heritage content.
  12. 12. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #1 Geotourism celebrating Geoheritage:  By expansion of the Geotourism map concept (as developed in NSW) progressively across Australia on a ‘state by state’ basis (both hard copy and online) supplemented by publications.  By consideration of new ICTs (e.g. smartphones, 3D visualisation, AR & VR), GIS technologies as a cost- effective means of accessing and better communicating geological content for travellers and residents in regional Australia.
  13. 13. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #2 Enhanced coordination nationally of geoheritage listings with the objective of highlighting areas of both geotourism value and geosites that need to be protected, given that  the right balance needs to be determined between the needs of exposing geosites for public visitation and geoconservation needs, and  there are no national standards or guidelines with each state/territory having different strategies and systems for recording geoheritage. •
  14. 14. Gossan of the Broken Hill Orebody
  15. 15. New National Park at Nilpena Flinders Ranges South Australia Iconic Ediacaran Fossil Site
  16. 16. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #3 Establishment of a national set of administrative procedures for ‘georegional’ assessment to provide for potential geopark nominations at state and national levels and, as approved by governments, at a UNESCO Global Geopark level.
  17. 17. Georegions, Geotrails and Geoparks  In large regional areas such as the Murchison in Western Australia, the Mid West Development Commission and local councils are undertaking a ‘georegional’ assessment.  Including the determination of the most viable geotourism delivery mechanism available.  In the first instance this is focused on geotrail development.  This may lead to the identification of an area suitable for geopark development, subject to State Government approval.
  18. 18. Major Geotourism Development in Australia  More focus needs to be applied to communicating the ‘georegional’ nature of geotourism.  Preferred focus first on geotrail development.  Any emerging geopark proposals must be supported by Geological Surveys.  More time must be allowed to gain community engagement/support to ensure geopark sustainability.  Need to compile and promote quantifiable data and analysis to establish socio-economic benefit.
  19. 19. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #4 New Geotrail Development: individual geological surveys from the States and Territories be invited to engage, on an ‘as needs’ basis, and in collaboration with university/museum interest groups as well as with state/territory divisions and branches of the interested professional societies, to review the suitability of existing roads, bushwalks, biking and rail trails as potential geotrails.
  20. 20. Geotourism and Regional Development  Regional development imperatives (growth and jobs) are now driving geotourism initiatives in Australia.  Creating geotrails is arguably the easiest way of providing early pathways and support from governments for geotourism activities in Australia.  Successful roll-out of geotrails will instill confidence in geotourism, providing a future pathway to geopark establishment and development in Australia.
  21. 21. Why Geotrails?  Relates directly to the tourism experience of a journey linking destinations.  In Australia, unlike geoparks, geotrails have widespread appeal, and do not compete with or impact on land management/access issues.  Geotrails are relatively easy to establish and represent a very cost- effective means of enhancing regional development.  Can form the basis of a 'defacto geopark'.
  22. 22. Best Practice Geotrails  Should be constructed around routes currently used by tourists; geotrails should form logical journeys linking accommodation destinations.  Should meld the geological heritage features of a region with a cohesive STORY.  Should incorporate and package in the biodiversity and cultural components (including mining heritage) of the region through which the geotrail traverses.
  23. 23. Current & Potential Major Geotrail Projects in Australia 1. Tasmania - West Coast Geotrail, Furneaux Geotrail. 2. Queensland - Savannah Way, Dig the Tropics, Boulder Opal (Western Queensland). 3. Victoria/SA - Kanawinka, Great Ocean Road. 4. South Australia - Brachina Gorge, Great Central Geotrail Proposal. 5. Western Australia - Murchison Proposal. 6. New South Wales - Volcano geotrail proposal (Warrumbungle) 7. Northern Territory – Range of new proposals (Mark Asendorf). Plus a wide range of smaller, dedicated geotrails along walking tracks, old rail easements etc. being developed in NSW (e.g. various Riverina Rail Trail projects), Tasmania, Qld, WA and SA; and river trails (e.g. Darling River Run).
  24. 24. ‘The Living Earth’ – Cradle Coast Geotrail
  25. 25. ‘The Living Earth’ – West Coast Geotrail
  26. 26. Marketing & Promotion - Living Earth Geotrail The following markets & strategies will give the GeoTrail the best chance of achieving an increase in visitor stops & stays as well as associated revenue.  engage the local communities of the Trail to build pride and referrals to family, friends and visitors through involvement in content development, familiarisations, progress reporting and ongoing promotion.  engage the existing visitor market to increase the number of stops and stays through the development and promotion of online communications and a downloadable free mobile app.  engage relevant specialist groups in the Trail experience through use of specific publications and newsletters.  engage the potential education market through the development and promotion of a regional education package involving the Trail and other relevant experiences.
  27. 27. GSNSW Support of Warrumbungle Geotourism Project  Committed resources to upgrading geological interpretation within the Warrumbungle National Park.  Developing Geotrail networks across the Central West region.  Supported the University of Newcastle in developing a coastal geotrail at Port Macquarie.  Published geotrail brochures for the Lower Hunter Region at Newcastle and at Broken Hill, and has recently developed a Time Walk at Newcastle.
  28. 28. Exemplar: Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail, NSW "The collaborative geotrail project has been led by the University of Newcastle (A) & supported by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, the Geological Survey of NSW (A), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (B) & Birpai Local Aboriginal Land Council (C). Supported by a brochure, website & smartphone app, the Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail is a four kilometre walk from Shelly Beach to Rocky Beach that tells the story of plate tectonics & how the Earth’s crust was formed along the stretch of coastline over the past 460 million years".
  29. 29. Ulladulla Geological Time Walk - Conceived and Created by Phil Smart, Retired Government Geologist Supported by a fossil walk and museum.
  30. 30. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #5 Using geotourism to strengthen Australia’s international geoscience standing  and enhance its influence for the long- term benefits of Australian geoscientists through the establishment of sister park, sister museum/rock garden, sister geological and mining heritage sites relationships, particularly with China and countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  Also relevant for countries that enjoy ‘Gondwana age’ geological relationships with Australia.
  31. 31. Australia-China Memorandum of Cooperation The GSA and the Geological Society of China Executed June 2016  The Australia-China relationship is becoming more important with the increasing level of economic, social and cultural activities in the coming decades.  The Memorandum of Cooperation will be focused on growing and enhancing best practice nature- based tourism (i.e. geotourism) in both countries.  Tourism park managers could play a significant role in establishing ‘sister’ relationships between parks, as a key driver of future geotourism.
  32. 32. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #6 Professional development opportunities for geoscientists wishing to develop content interpretation and tour guiding skills for enhanced interaction with the public by  engagement with the Savannah Guides organisation, the professional group - Interpretation Australia, and  using best practice audio and multimedia technologies.
  33. 33. Tourism Earth Sciences - Definition  Originating in China in the 1980s, a multi-disciplinary academic subject adopting knowledge and methodology of Earth Sciences to understand, study, plan, protect and utilise tourism resources.  A new branch of Earth Sciences to study tourism, leisure, and their relationship with the composition, structures, energy movement and changes of Earth’s surface. It includes tourism environments involving geology and geography and therefore is a fusion of tourism geology and tourism geography.
  34. 34. Tourism Earth Sciences - Opportunities  Education & research  Geoparks and geoconservation  Tourism – national parks, tour guides  Economic development – UNESCO Global Geoparks, World Bank, AuSAID, regional development agencies
  35. 35. National Geotourism Strategy – Topic #7 Mechanisms for collaboration with providers of other areas of natural (bioregion) and cultural heritage content,  inclusive of mining and resource industry heritage (e.g. mining companies, geological and mining museums, historical societies,  as well as specialist groups with interests in flora and fauna etc.)
  36. 36. Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park, Taiwan Herberton Mining Centre and Walking Trails
  37. 37. The Mineral Exploration/Geotourism Interface  Exploring the opportunity for discovery.  Love of landscapes/great outdoors/travel.  Satisfying project work with challenges.  Learning new skills and knowledge.  Educating/enthusing others in an outdoor environment - quite different from the museum experience.
  38. 38. Where is the Gold in Geotourism?  New domestic employment and consulting opportunities for geoscientists - interpretation signage/boards, design of geotrails etc; particularly important during mining exploration downturns.  Consulting opportunities in developing countries where geoparks are now being nominated and developed.  Management roles in geoparks, regional development and local government agencies.  Increased revenues for regions and local communities.  Opportunity for geology related interests during early retirement.
  39. 39. Take-Aways: Major Geotourism Development in Australia  The State and Territory Chief Government Geologists are considering a proposed ‘way forward’ based on these discussion topics as identified by the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC).  It is hoped that priority may be able to be given to making a start on implementing these recommended measures in collaboration with the constituent member societies of the AGC.  The AGC remains confident that a national geotourism strategy can start to emerge during 2020.
  40. 40. Take-Aways  Significant geotourism initiatives are emerging globally and in Australia.  Geotourism development will in time necessitate the employment of geoscientists.  Careers in geotourism can complement employment in mining and exploration.  University Earth Science Faculties should consider introducing Tourism Earth Science as a curricular option, but include geomorphology as a core subject.
  41. 41. Contact Details angus@leisuresolutions.com.au Tel: 0418 488 340 https://www.slideshare.net/leisuresolutions http://www.leisuresolutions.com.au/index.php/geotourism-industry-groups/ Information about Australian Geotourism and Geopark Development Activities http://www.agc.org.au/geoscience-in-australia/geotourism/ Australian Geoscience Council