Your browser is out of date.
This site may not function properly in your current browser. Update Now

About Geotourism

"When we travel, we can leave our footprints or we can leave hope, opportunity, a better place for everyone.” This thought is what catapulted National Geographic to partner with destinations and experts around the world. Authentic, sustainable tourism is important to them and to us, and brought about this idea of “geotourism.”


Place, People, Prosperity

Geotourism is 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.

Geotourism is a partnership between you as a traveler and the people who live at a destination. It expands on ecotourism by helping preserve more than just the environment.

Geotourism incorporates the concept of sustainable tourism—that destinations should remain unspoiled for future generations—while allowing for ways to protect a place's character. It also takes a principle from its ecotourism cousin that tourism revenue should promote conservation, and extends it to culture and history as well, that is, all distinctive assets of a place


…strengthens community and benefits residents economically

Local businesses owners and civic groups join to provide a distinctive, authentic visitor experience. These businesses hire local workers, and use local services, products, and supplies. When community members understand the benefits of geotourism, they take responsibility for destination stewardship.

…**offers authentic experiences and local knowledge**

Residents discover their own heritage and how the ordinary and familiar may be of interest to outsiders. As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their locale, tourists get more out of their visits. Destination-savvy travelers seek out businesses that emphasize the character of the locale. In return, local stakeholders who receive economic benefits appreciate and protect the value of those assets.

All of this means great trips!

Enthusiastic visitors bring new knowledge home, telling stories that send friends and relatives off to experience the same thing—a continuing business for the destination. We welcome you to visit and experience the distinctive landscape and communities of the Tennessee River Valley region.

For more information about geotourism, please visit: