Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon, LD3 7HP, Wales, UK
Keywords: Sustainability, partnerships, marketing, environment, economy, destination management
Geopark is fast becoming an internationally known brand associated with quality landscape, outstanding geology and natural heritage. A European/UNESCO Geopark offers the potential to build a premium quality tourism brand rooted in sustainability given than the wider visitor experience matches the quality of the landscape and is based on operating practices that seek to improve the sustainability of geo-tourism.
Increasing visitor revenue is reliant on avoiding the creation of a niche market for the geo-tourist. Branding and marketing play an important role in developing sustainable destination management. Geotourism must not destroy what it values most. With more visitors than ever requesting special activities it is imperative that the creation of new markets are developed within the Geopark Network, this may include either or all of the following: walking; cycling, horse riding and wildlife.
Natural heritage is an economic asset and the recognition of this fact and its inclusion in developing new markets is the key to creating an economic environment where local communities will observe real benefits and be encouraged to protect their quality environment.
The provision of a sustainable transport network enabling ease of access and good transport links within the chosen destination is a major factor in the provision of a quality service to the visitor.
Developing strong tourism partnerships both in the public and private sector and encouraging local participation is paramount in ensuring the success of the visitor experience. Tourism businesses are our closest allies as their businesses will influence many more visitors by providing a quality experience guaranteeing the return and referral of even the most discerning visitor. There is a need to take a fresh look at how this is done and one of the more exciting models is the emergence of destination management.