Geotourism is a content marketing program that provides a platform for destinations to inventory and promote the places that locals most respect and recommend, in partnership with National Geographic.
It brings local people and organizations together to define what’s special about their destination and produce user-generated content about unique attractions, businesses, and events to provide a comprehensive digital and/or printed MapGuide for travelers and a forum for sustainability discussions and actions.
The Geotourism MapGuide platform activates local people to create and publish content and stories that would otherwise be undiscovered and draws visitors to locally owned businesses and attractions for the benefit of local economies.
Geotourism engages deeply in a region with the goal of environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.
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National Geographic’s geotourism program combines the expertise of the world’s leading sustainable tourism thinkers, the publishing capabilities of National Geographic, and the involvement of local residents at a tourism destination to facilitate the inventory and wise stewardship of cultural, historic, and natural resources; enhance local economies; and help destinations tell their story internally and to their target travel markets.
The geotourism program engages people in an intimate, personal way while leveraging the National Geographic brand and message to catalyze local engagement and attract targeted travelers to the destination.
The program uses a stakeholder-driven process to create communication tools for destinations, build a local constituency of destination ambassadors and storytellers, and work with these individuals to support stewardship and promotion of the destination.
Geotourism has the potential to succeed where many other tourism strategies cannot.
The geotourism approach focuses first on building strong community alliances of individuals and organizations that are most familiar with the unique natural, cultural, historical, and scenic assets of a destination. This process helps to catalyze action and collaboration among local stakeholders over a one-year time horizon, through the development of multimedia communication products and campaigns guided by local residents to support stewardship, enhancement, and promotion of the destination.
The local Geotourism Stewardship Council that guides the program may go by any name and may be new or coalesce around an existing group. This group works to elicit grassroots and institutional participation in the program, bolstered by local media coverage. In parallel to this, National Geographic works with the council to establish the systems and skills needed to maintain and promote the program beyond the initial rollout.
NOTE: National Geographic is not currently developing new Geotourism projects. However by sharing the principles, methods, and documentation found here, destinations can develop their own geotourism projects and partnerships to achieve the goals of sustainable tourism and conservation of natural and cultural heritage. Additional information and guidance about geotourism can be found at DestinationCenter.org/geotourism