Defined as “tourism that
sustains or enhances the geographical
character of a place—its environment,
heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the
well-being of its residents,” Geotourism is
founded on a set of principles that foster
enhancement of sustainable destinations.
Principle 1: Foster
Integrity of Place.
Sustain and enhance
Principle 2: Adhere
to International Codes.
Follow the World Tourism
Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for
Tourism and the
Principles of the Cultural Tourism Charter
established by the International Council of
Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS.)
Principle 3: Market
Plan not for “tourism,”
but for which tourists. Seek tourist
segments with best
cost/benefit ratio. Measure success by
benefit, NOT headcount!
Principle 4: Foster
Encourage a full range
of cuisine, lodging and retail facilities to
appeal to the entire
spectrum of the geotourism market. Offer
affordable housing and commercial
Principle 5: Ensure
experiences that tourists want to share with
others, thus providing
continuing demand for the destination.
Principle 6: Involve
Base tourism on
community resources, encouraging local
businesses and civic groups to promote and
provide distinctive, honest visitor
Determine Community Benefit.
Ensure specific economic
and social benefits from tourism that help
resources, and businesses.
Principle 8: Protect
and Enhance Destination Appeal.
Encourage businesses to
balance usage with protection of resources.
Manage tourism by understanding and limiting
Principle 9: Use Land
techniques to prevent over development and
manufactured attractions in areas with
minimal ecological, scenic, historic, or
Encourage and promote
environmentally friendly business practices.
Principle 11: Plan.
Recognize and respect
immediate economic needs without sacrificing
long-term character and geotourism potential
of the destination.
Encourage Interactive Interpretation.
Engage both visitors and
hosts in the learning process.
Measure development and
marketing practices, along with the
stewardship and conservation efforts to
understand the full value of sustainable
destinations. Each place must
determine the appropriate community benefit
and desired return on investment from
tourism. Often a local entity represented by
various organizations and interests – such
as a newly formed Geotourism Stewardship
Council – will use these principles in
creating and administering a comprehensive
geotourism approach. These practices
traditionally include activities to
identify, sustain, develop and market the
geotourism assets of a place.