Towards a history of geotourism: definitions, antecedents and the future
Geotourism is a relatively new form of tourism with considerable growth potential. Initially researched and defined within the UK, it is a growing field of international academic study. The term passed into general usage in the early 1990s, although its antecedents date back to the seventeenth century. Its resource base includes geosites, museum, library and archive collections and artistic outputs. It has significant social history and industrial archaeology underpinnings. Relatively recently defined, and benefiting from a new appreciation of its historical roots and various outcomes, the concept is already undergoing redefinition and refinement. However, because of an inadequately developed historical perspective and theoretical framework, the rationale for its provision and the societal significance of its resource base is not always fully appreciated by existing and potential stakeholders. This account presents geotourism's historical and theoretical development, especially in Britain from which examples are drawn, and explores its likely future.