The Geotourism Approach – Inspiring Sustainable Travel

GeoFeature_NGCSD_resize.gifAssociate Director Ann Nygard learned of the geotourism concept, defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place–its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents; when working in partnership with National Geographic in her native Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom on a Geotourism MapGuide. Now part of the Center for Sustainable Destinations at NG headquarters in Washington, D.C., she works with destinations to help tell the story of their place.

Northeast Kingdom, Vermont –The seasons shape how folks experience this tri-county region of Vermont.  Winding dirt roads pocked by potholes from the winter freeze were filled with spring mud when the local Geotourism Stewardship Council began community forums. Maneuvering around these craters was a welcome change from avoiding snowdrifts blown across the roads; potholes don’t move.  Hopes were high that mild weather would encourage Kingdom residents to nominate sites for the Geotourism MapGuide at town hall style meetings, through emailed nomination forms, and in special kiosks set up in individual rural communities.

All winter, the Geotourism Stewardship Council workgroup got together every other Tuesday at the Hardwick Village Restaurant to plan the three-month outreach sessions. We had added incentive to brave the wintry conditions: arrive early and French toast from homemade bread was still available on the slate chalkboard menu. Maple syrup from a local sugarhouse, however, was always available. Unlike in the rest of the country, syrup goes beyond breakfast: Maple-glazed salmon, Maple cream pie, Maple smoked ham, Maple buttered baby carrots, Maple pumpkin bread. You get the idea.

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Antarctica: “hot” tourist destination of 2010?

Yesterday, at a joint session of the Arctic Council and the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for tighter controls over tourism and other forms of pollution in Antarctica. Citing environmental and scientific research value, she urged greater global cooperation in preserving the continent.

Since 2000-01, visits to Antarctica have increased nearly four-fold,
with 46,000 visitors to the continent during the last tourist season.
The implications of this increase in tourism are, of course,
devastating to such a pristine ecosystem. And with the continued rise
in adventure tourism and nature-oriented travel, scientists and
preservationists are understandably concerned over the future of the


A Jet Cruises over Antartica

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Five for Friday: Explore the World Through Geotourism!

This week National
Geographic’s Center
for Sustainable Destinations
recognized three winners of the first ever Global Geotourism Challenge,
hosted together with Ashoka Changemakers. The challenge was a competition for tourist destinations that have
upheld the goals of Geotourism, or,
“tourism that sustains or enhances the
geographical character of a place–its environment, culture, aesthetics,
heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”




Check out some (five, to be exact) examples of Geotourism in action!

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Bonus Resource: World Statistics Clock

If you were interested at all by the last blog about the G-8 and Geotourism environmental agreements, you’ll love this clock. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ll love it even if you thought that entry was pointless and boring. After all, this is no ordinary clock. As hands quietly and methodically make their way around the unobtrusive sphere in the upper left-hand corner of … Continue reading Bonus Resource: World Statistics Clock

Major Week for National and Global Environmental Change

For those of you out there who feel as though you’re the only ones confronting the pressures of global climate change (It’s not exactly easy getting used to those 110 degree heat bicycle rides just to save gas money, is it?), rest assured that you are not alone. Both the National Geographic Society (NGS) and the group of eight major industrialized countries known as the … Continue reading Major Week for National and Global Environmental Change