What is Geotourism?
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 Eastern Sri Lankan Geotourism Program produces a National Geographic branded website with an online map, offering destination information that identifies natural, cultural, and historic attractions that define Eastern Sri Lanka. Information is produced from the stories and nominations of local residents, who provide information for the MapGuide during a “nomination period”.
How is the website being developed?
One of the first steps in creating a website is convening a working group (Geotourism Forum) of local residents and community leaders, historic preservationists and environmentalists, agricultural interests and business owners, artists and musicians to oversee the project. The Eastern Sri Lankan Geotourism Forum support activities to gather information from around the region and encourage community involvement in the program. 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 Forum will review the nominations, edit the material, and design a high-quality National Geographic co-branded 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 Forum?
The Geotourism Forum encourages community participation in the nomination process; ensures the nominations reflect the diversity of the region; identifies themes; and works with National Geographic to edit and design the website. Once this is complete, the Forum works with the communities of the region to contribute fresh material to the website and develop cooperative efforts to better promote Eastern Sri Lanka as a premiere tourism destination.
How will this project benefit Eastern Sri Lankan 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 encourages sustainable economic development and promote long-term stewardship of the regions distinctive communities, businesses, working landscapes, and natural areas.