Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Geotourism is drawing millions to rural areas

An exciting new form of tourism, that mostly takes place in rural areas, is quickly spreading across the nation, drawing millions of people to tourist destinations across the U.S. The move is aimed at geotravelers -- which the Billings Gazette defines as people who focus on the cultural, social and educational aspects of travel, placing a premium on authentic experiences in unique places. (Montana Tourism photo: Geotourists use stand-up paddleboards in Yankee Jim Canyon)

There are 55 million American geotourists, which is half the traveling public, according to National Geographic magazine: "These travelers have ceaseless expectations for unique and culturally authentic travel experiences that protect and preserve the ecological and cultural environment. These groups are different, but all are affluent, travel frequently, and have strong geotourism inclinations."

The move to market geotourism in in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming began when the states teamed up with the Center for Sustainable Destinations at National Geographic "to marketing their spectacular natural settings, unique experiences and authentic rural communities," Ruffin Prevost reports for the Gazette. National Geographic has also been working with states to create map guides, that local journalists can use to highlight geotourism in their areas.

Jeri Duran, head of the Montana Office of Tourism, said geotravelers are an attractive demographic, because they are typically well educated, have high incomes and spend a disproportionate amount of their incomes on travel, reports Prevost. Duran said, “Travel defines them. They are frequent leisure travelers, taking trips an average of three times per year.” (Read more)

No comments: