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Although modern geotourism, as a form of sustainable geoheritage tourism, was only recognized as such in the 1990s, its roots lie in the seventeenth century and the Grand Tour with its domestic equivalents. At that time, a few elite travellers recorded their experiences of landscapes, natural wonders, quarries and mines. Such travellers’ observations were supplemented by those of the antiquarians for much of the eighteenth century; at that century’s close, the first modern geologists were recording their observations. The nineteenth century witnessed an explosion in public interest and engagement with geology, and field excursions were provided by the burgeoning natural history and geology societies. By the close of the nineteenth century, the Romantic movement had successfully promoted wild landscapes to a newly expanding urban population. The development of the Grand Tour and the landscape aesthetic movements, the various influential institutions, key personalities and locations are considered insofar as they provide an overview of the background to historical geotourism. All are underpinned by a theoretical consideration of the geotourism paradigm and how geotourism historical studies can contextualize modern geotourism.

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