The term geotourism is essentially taken to mean “geological tourism”. It encompasses tourists looking at natural landscapes including the landforms and rocks, as well as processes the shaped them over time.

The Earth’s geological wonders have always fascinated people and are a fundamental part of a cultures identity. Many also form the basis for the establishment of protected areas and World Heritage Sites. From Iguazu Falls to the Grand Canyon, examples abound of outstanding geological features which have attracted visitors from time immemorial. It is not just spectacular landforms either, but also the processes which have shaped the Earth. So tourists also visit sites where glaciers are in action, volcanoes are active, sand dunes are sculpted and rivers are causing erosion. It is the understanding of this “form -process relationship” that is important in geology and by extension, geotourism. Through geotourism the relationship is explored and the consequences of geological landforms and activities and our lives are more fully understood.

Ross Dowling and David Newsome

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