Friday, March 23, 2018

Counteracting the lack of attractiveness of geological attractions!

by Mamoon Allan
Mamoon Allan

Faculty of Archeology and Tourism, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan
IAPG-Jordan coordinator


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

Picture above:
Wadi Rum, Southern Jordan, was the backdrop for filming of the 2015 movie "The Martian".

Geotourism (tourism with a geological purpose) has existed since the 1990s. Nowadays, many countries have increased their focus on geotourism, particularly relying on their geotourism attractions. This new trend of tourists’ preferences for geological and geomorphic attractions is related to the diversification and evolution of the tourism demand focusing on the environment, education and entertainment in the first of 21th century with the subsequent emergence of experienced tourists. However, one of the main challenges for geotourism management is counteract the lack of recognized attractiveness of geological sites since the value of the geotourism experience will still not be popular for some tourists. Therefore, the actual status of geotourism in the world needs to work more on already existing homogenous groups of "geotourists" which are sufficiently motivated to experience geotourism and to satisfy their needs in order to make them regular visitors of geosites.

Students Activities at the
Crystal Cave, Western Australia
However, it should be recommended that we should be capable to provide a holistic and an attractive experience for tourists, and to “build” a detailed story about the formation of landscapes in geosites to help the grasping of their importance and for developing a sense of ‘awe’. Geotourism management should enhance the attractiveness of the potential geosite to nature fans people, and increase the public’s knowledge of geotourism destinations. Furthermore, a better understanding of the socio-demographics for these tourists can help those in the tourism industry to enhance the attractiveness of the geological tourism sites by designing appropriate and appealing tourism products and services for this identifiable tourism segment. 

It is acknowledged that the tourists who have a special interest in geotourism activities have common characteristics and interests, such as geological background, nature love, aesthetic sense and landscaping. Thus, this group of tourists (geotourists) have the geological knowledge and sufficient motivation to experience geotourism many times. Another effective tactic to increase the appeal of geotourism products is to "mix" the geological attractions with other significant contexts of the geotouristic destinations. For example, connecting the cultural, historical, archeological, spirtual and recreational contexts with the geological sites. Thus, in some geosites geological handcrafts, geo-lodges, high quality intrpretation processes and a bundle of interesting activities and events are offered. What is interesting in geotourism is that several geosites have been considered as filming locations, such as Wadi Rum in Jordan, Matamata in New Zealand and the mountains of Snowdonia in north Wales.


Dowling R. & Newsome D. (2006). Geotourism. Oxford, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics