Geotourism (greek = γεωτουρισμός) is nature-based tourism that focuses primarily on sites of geological interest. It promotes the exploration of geosites, the conservation of geodiversity and an understanding of Earth sciences through observation and learning. This is achieved by visiting geological features and view points, guided tours and geo-activities. Geotourism will be integrated into the entire natural profile of a valued protected area, such as a geopark.
In a global context it is viewed as a synergistic form of tourism in which the elements of landscape and geosites together create a travel experience that is richer than the sum of its parts, appealing to travelers with diverse interests. Visitors who participate in geotours are interested in social interaction with local communities, viewing landforms and other geological features and enjoying the diverse natural habitats.
Thousands of geological features worldwide have become attractions: Giants Causeway (Northern Ireland), Grand Canyon (United States), Giant Geode of Pulpi (Spain), Perito Moreno Glacier (Argentina), Madagascar’s Stone Forest, Devil’s Marbles and Wave Rock (Australia).
Geodiversity is the variety of earth materials, forms and processes that constitute and shape the Earth, either the whole or a specific part of it. Relevant materials include minerals, rocks, sediments, fossils, soils and water. Forms may comprise folds, faults, landforms and other expressions of morphology or relations between units of earth material. Any natural process that continues to act upon, maintain or modify either material or form (for example tectonics and sediment transport) represents another aspect of geodiversity.