Handbook of Geotourism
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Handbook of Geotourism

Edited by Ross Dowling and David Newsome

Ross Dowling and David Newsome present an original, substantial and much-needed contribution to the field which will further our understanding of geotourism in theory and practice. This Handbook defines, characterises and explores the subject through a range of international perspectives and case studies, identifying geotourism as a rapidly emerging form of urban and regional sustainable development.
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Chapter 5: Who are geotourists? A case study from Jordan

Ross Dowling and Mamoon Allan


Little is known about geotourists with few studies having investigated who they actually are. This chapter examines some of the literature about geotourists including a cultural tourism typology approach. Geotourists have been categorized as special interest tourists whose environmental tourism focus begins with geology and landscape, usually takes place at a geosite, and involves some form of learning through interpretation and education. Thus, a geotourist is defined as an individual who visits a site with significant geological or geomorphic characteristics to view it and gain knowledge about its features. It is argued that geotourists may include both independent individuals and groups visiting geological tourism sites which may take place in either natural or urban/built areas, that is, wherever there is a geological feature of interest. The results of a case study of 200 tourists who were visiting Wadi Rum, Jordan is presented. The results show that the main reasons for visiting Wadi Rum were to explore new places, for enjoyment and for education. A key variable underpinning their desire to explore new places was their desire to undergo a ‘sense of wonder’. The Wadi Rum geotourists were young to middle aged and well educated. They are motivated by a high level of intrinsic motivation they want to learn about geosites and be given sound information about the attraction they are visiting.

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