Monday, June 20, 2016

"Geotourism for all": toward bridging the gap

by Mamoon Allan*

Mamoon Allan
*Faculty of Archeology and tourism, the University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan - IAPG-Jordan coordinator 

Picture at the top: Maldive (from

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this paper solemnly engage the authors

It is acknowledged that tourism is a human basic right and communities should pay much attention to the rights of people with special needs to experience different tourism activities. Geotourism (tourism with a geological purpose) represents a holistic natural, cultural and recreational experience for tourists regardless of having disabilities or not. Despite the developments in the nature and scope of geotourism experiences, people with special needs are commonly excluded from different types of geological tourism activities because of different physical and health constraints. Thus, there is an urgent need to tackle such constrains and provide an accessible experience to such tourists with special needs in the context of geotourism. As a result, it is vital to promote the concept of "Geotourism for all" in different geological tourism sites and enhance the ethical practices in geotourism business.

Hitherto geological tourism tours for people with special needs are still very limited. This is mostly due to several barriers that hamper the supply and demand sides for geotourism business. This post seeks to clarify the concept of "Geotourism for all", types of tourist with special needs, and steps that should be followed to develop such tourism movement.

From the paper: 
Disability and Human rights -
Questions for Geotourism Projects 
(By Scott Rains)
The concept of "Geotourism for all" involves enabling people with special needs to undertake their tourism experiences at geological tourism sites. It includes providing accessible services and requirements for all kind of tourists engaging in geotourism experiences. Different types of geological sites, particularly; geoparks should provide barrier-free tours including accessible facilities and services. Accordingly, people with special needs may comprise people with different types of disabilities, senior people, people with different health conditions requiring special care, such as diabetic and obesity, and families with children having disabilities.

In order to promote the concept of "Geotourism for all" at geological sites, several steps should be done. Thus, geotourism managers, planners and promoters should provide accessible facilities and services, improve the quality of offering services and develop marketing and promotion campaigns to enhance the awareness toward the significance of accessible geotourism activities. Additionally, it is highly recommended to offer appropriate training and qualifications for geotourism staffs to be able to deal with different kinds of people with special needs. Media also can play vital role to promote the culture of "Geotourism for all" and attract the attention of public to support the right of people with special needs to travel or experience tourism activities. The advance of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) could provide many opportunities to improve the status quo of the accessible tourism facilities and services at geosites. Moreover, it could enhance providing required information and communication for people with special needs. Finally, providing accessible geotourism facilities and services for people with special needs is an ethical practice and a primary responsibility for geologists and tourism experts to help such people to enjoy their life and practice their basic rights.

Other articles in the IAPG Blog:

IAPG Publications on Geoethics: