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 16: Geo-interpretation: how and for whom?

Piotr Migoń


The distinctiveness of geotourism resides in the emphasis on learning and understanding rather than in mere aesthetic appreciation of rocks and scenery. Therefore, interpretation is a vital component of geotourism. Interpretation techniques may be divided into four major groups: (1) permanent interpretative facilities at geosites, available at any time – information panels; (2) portable tools such as guidebooks, brochures, smartphone applications; (3) off-site facilities such as visitors’ centres, museums, exhibitions, dedicated websites; (4) direct interactions with a guide during guided outdoor walks. Contrasting motivations and levels of antecedent knowledge among tourists mean that these different techniques are preferably used as complementary, aimed at different categories of visitors, ranging from geo-experts to casual visitors. The needs of those with special interest in geoscience are best addressed in publications and via websites. Interpretative panels are better kept simple, although if given clear structure, more specific messages can also be conveyed.

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