Geotourism goes beyond "drive through" travel. It involves regional communities in providing the visitor with an authentic, enriching experience. It acquaints tourists with local culture and traditions and offers them in-depth opportunities to enjoy the area's unique natural beauty and biodiversity.
Geotourism benefits the environment by encouraging sound destination stewardship that keeps growth to sustainable levels and limits negative impacts such as overcrowding and resource pollution. It benefits residents by promoting local services and employment. It benefits visitors by informing residents about their needs and expectations.
National Geographic experts collaborate with hand-picked locals to develop unique travel resources to help visitors plan more enriching journeys through interactive online maps, guides, and virtual tours; tuck-in-your-pocket print formats; even mobile apps. All ﬁlled with inside insights and advice on exploring these legendary locations and tips on where to ﬁnd the most awe-inspiring natural beauty; outdoor adventures; ways to engage and volunteer in communities; home-grown festivals and events; museums, galleries, theaters, and interpretive centers; plus favorite spots to stay, eat, and drink.
Explore a sampling of our Geotourism projects below, and contact us if you are interested in developing a Geotourism program for your region.
Gulf Coast States:
The USA Gulf States Geotourism Program seeks to capture and promote the culture and heritage of this extraordinary region through the voices and stories of the people that live there. As a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in early 2010, and to support efforts to rekindle visitation to the region, this project will help to capture the warm and welcoming persona of the gulf coast through an informative National Geographic Society co-branded print map, online interactive map and app that presents the sites and stories of the region in the words of its’ residents.
The Eastern Newfoundland Geotourism Project seeks to celebrate the Eastern Newfoundland region as a world-class destination, while contributing to the economic health of the region by promoting sustainable tourism. History buffs and adventurers, backpackers and foodies, birders and sightseers can discover unique destinations based on recommendations from those who know best—residents of the Eastern Newfoundland region.
The Greater Yellowstone region encompasses some 20 million acres of rugged mountains, picturesque river valleys, high desert plains, and distinctive small towns and cities. It is a land of scenic landscapes, rich biodiversity, captivating history, a mosaic of cultures, and vibrant, friendly communities. Straddling Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, the region is centered around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the surrounding core of public wildlands.
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy and Sierra Business Council have partnered with the National Geographic Society to capture the history and heritage of the Sierra Nevada region through this interactive Web site and print map. History buffs and adventurers, backpackers and foodies, birders and sightseers can discover unique destinations based on recommendations from those who know best—residents of the Sierra Nevada.
The Redwood Coast MapGuide is a collaborative project that combines the National Geographic Society's map-making expertise with local communities' knowledge and enthusiasm to highlight the region's unique values. It depends on input from people like you who have learned to appreciate the Redwood Coast by exploring it.
Lakes to Locks Passage:
Midway between Manhattan and Montreal, this inter-connected waterway shaped the destiny of the United States and Canada. By bike, foot, boat, train or car, Lakes to Locks Passage provides access to charming cities, rural landscapes and Adirondack hamlets. Through all four seasons, you can travel through numerous historic, natural, cultural and recreational experiences along the scenic waterway that links upstate New York to southern Quebec.
Four Corners Region:
The Four Corners Region Geotourism Stewardship Council has partnered with the National Geographic Society to capture the history and heritage of the Four Corners Region through an interactive Web site and print map. The Four Corners Region Geotourism Project seeks to celebrate the Four Corners Region region as a world-class destination, while contributing to the economic health of the region by promoting sustainable tourism. History buffs and adventurers, backpackers and foodies, birders and sightseers can discover unique destinations based on recommendations from those who know best—residents of the Four Corners Region.
The Southeast Watershed Forum has partnered with the National Geographic Society to coordinate an effort to capture the history and heritage of the East Tennessee River Valley through an interactive Web site. The East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism Project seeks to celebrate the East Tennessee River Valley region as a world-class destination, while contributing to the economic health of the region by promoting sustainable tourism. History buffs and adventurers, backpackers and foodies, birders and sightseers can discover unique destinations based on recommendations from those who know best—residents of the East Tennessee River Valley region.
Crown of the Continent:
At the narrow waist of the Rocky Mountains, where Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana meet, sprawls one of the wildest, most diverse and intact ecosystems in the temperate zones of the world. In the early 1890s, conservationist and Glacier Park advocate George Bird Grinnell dubbed this transboundary region the "Crown of the Continent," highlighting the region's geographical importance as the headwaters of the continent, spilling cold, clean waters to the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay.
If there’s one quality that unites the citizenry of the Central Cascades, it’s an intimate connection to the land. Farmers and ranchers rely on its soil to nurture their crops and livestock; urbanites relocate here to fish its pristine waters and hike and bike its majestic forests. It’s no wonder, then, that Central Cascades residents have been trailblazers in land conservation and sustainable tourism.
The Western Balkans encompasses Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. A crossroads and a crucible, where empires met, fought and combined to form a kaleidoscope of cultures unique in Europe; where the Greeks, Romans, Slavs, Venetians, Turks and Austro-Hungarians each left their own indelible mark on the architecture, cuisine, languages, music and traditions of the region. Medieval Orthodox monasteries, Renaissance Catholic churches, mosques and minarets stand together within the same city walls. The aroma of local food from the bazaars testifies to the fusion of East and West, while the region’s eclectic music and dance celebrate this rich heritage.
Jim Dion is the Sustainable Tourism Program Manager for Solimar International, a partner with National Geographic Maps. His work involves linking the world’s most important tourism destinations to the design capabilities of National Geographic Maps to create innovative maps and interactive websites to increase knowledge about sustainable tourism and foster destination stewardship of cultural, historic, and natural resources.
Before joining Solimar International, Jim helped run the Center for Sustainable Destinations at National Geographic. Prior to that, he directed international ecotourism programs for conservation NGO’s in Mexico, Central America, and Asia, and has lectured at the Technical University of Graz in Austria. James’ interest in linking tourism to conservation and community development is an outgrowth of his more than 15 years of experience as a professional river and wilderness guide/outfitter. He founded and developed locally run sustainable tourism businesses in Europe and North, Central, and South America.
Solimar International in partnership with National Geographic Maps
Sustainable Tourism Program Manager
Tel: (202) 604-2487