Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographic character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Geotourism encompasses a range of travel including culture and heritage, history, food, nature, the outdoors, water, music and arts.
What is the MapGuide?
The U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism Program will generate a web and print National Geographic Society co-branded map and app of the ‘Southern Crescent,’ of the US, offering destination information that identifies natural, cultural, and historic attractions that define the USA Gulf States. Information on these maps will be generated by the stories and nominations of local residents, who provide information for the MapGuide during a three-month “nomination period” starting in May 2013.
How will the website and MapGuide be developed?
One of the first steps in creating a MapGuide is convening a working group (Geotourism Council) of local residents and community leaders, historic preservationists and environmentalists, agricultural interests and business owners, artists and artisans to oversee the project. The USA Gulf States Geotourism Council will then sponsor public forums and presentations around the region to encourage community involvement in the program and nomination of sites and stories that make the region unique. During the nomination period, the Geotourism Council will collect nominations from local residents and visitors for the website, app and print MapGuide. Nominations may include historic structures and archaeological sites, scenic landscapes and wildlife viewing areas, trails and outdoor recreation, local cuisine and culture, festivals and events, artists and water guides—the people and destinations that contribute to the unique beauty and diversity of the region. Finally, the National Geographic and Geotourism Council will review the nominations, edit the material, and design a high-quality National Geographic co-branded map, app and website that will help to highlight the unique attractions of the region in the voices of the people that live there.
What is the role of a Geotourism Council?
The Geotourism Council will encourage community participation in the nomination process; ensure the nominations reflect the diversity of the region; identify themes; and work with the National Geographic Society to edit and design the website, app and MapGuide. Once these materials are complete, the council will oversee and distribute the print MapGuide and develop a marketing plan for the program. In addition, the council will work with the communities of the region to contribute fresh material to the website and develop cooperative efforts to better promote the USA Gulf States as a premiere tourism destination.
How will this project benefit the USA Gulf State communities?
The Geotourism program seeks to promote and enhance the area’s natural, historic and cultural sites to domestic and international visitors who are seeking authentic travel experiences. The project will encourage sustainable economic development and promote long-term stewardship of the regions distinctive communities, businesses, working landscapes, and natural areas.
Where has this been done before?
Geotourism MapGuides have been published for Appalachia, Baja California, Central Cascades (Oregon, Washingtong), Crown of the Continent (Alberta, British Columbia, Montana), Four Corners (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah), East Tennessee River Valley, Greater Yellowstone (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), Guatemala, Lakes to Locks Passage (New York), Redwood Coast of California, Vilcanota Valley of Peru, Sierra Nevada of California, Sonoran Desert (Arizona and Sonora, Mexico), the city of Montreal, Newfoundland and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Visit National Geographic Interactive Destination Guides online at: