Edited by Ross Dowling and David Newsome
Chapter 22: Geotourism in the Bergstrasse–Odenwald UNESCO Global Geopark, Germany
In the last decade, the geo-educational approach of connecting geology, nature, humans and culture has been researched and developed in and through various geoparks. This holistic approach has been supported by UNESCO, with the Global Geoparks Network formed in 2004, and formalised in 2015 at the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme – with the designation UNESCO Global Geoparks. As an offshoot of this multilayered, international development, the UNESCO Global Geopark Bergstrasse–Odenwald (GBO) has developed a wide array of collaborative projects, communications and educational tools. GBO has employed a broad communication strategy, and undertaken various geotourist projects centred on visitor services and geopark events. The collaborative projects include a communicative and experimental playground for the public. The geo-educational and geotourist aspect is an integral part of all GBO activities. Communicating our strong connection between geology, humankind and nature by a combination of events, education, partners and projects in the frame of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 is considered a very successful model for further geopark development under the auspices of the UNESCO Global Geoparks International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), and as the emotional link between the earth and the people.
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