The Geotourism Development Foundation (GDF) seeks to enhance the distinctive aspects of a place to the benefit of both local residents and visiting travelers.

The GDF enables a growing community of travelers and tourism businesses, keen to break from the package-tourism mould, to give value to unique experiences in places where locals are eager to share their knowledge and stories, showcase aspects of their lives and benefit from the revenue that tourism can bring.

The GDF presently works primarily, but not exclusively, in the developing world, where tourism is a major source of revenue and employment. It aims to increase the share of benefits to locals by working with community development initiatives and the local tourism sector to create new types of tours which differ from those offered on the standard tourist trails, that are typically sold and managed by offshore travel companies.

The GDF responds to a growing shift in attention to independent, experiential and local travel. Recent evidence suggests that travelers are seeking out community initiatives, social entrepreneurs, nongovernmental organizations and others who are making special contributions to the places where they live. Through such contact travelers gain real insight into the places they visit, often form personal and enduring connections to the people and projects, and are generous in the support they provide, both on the spot and once they have returned home.

While the GDF answers an ever-growing need to engage with and cultivate sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives, it goes one step further and ensures that the benefits of tourism are immediately spread across a much wider audience. It operates on the principle of 'win-win-win outcomes' through tourism development – where the beneficial results of projects are shared with all stakeholders (local communities, travelers and the travel industry) in a manner that fosters a better, sustainable and more unique connection between host and traveler.

By working with the GDF and the projects it supports, all stakeholders show dedication to fair and sustainable travel practices, and help to develop a rich portfolio of geotourism activities making a positive impact on the planet.

The Geotourism Development Foundation is an independent, U.S. (501[c]3) non-profit organization, registered in Washington, DC.


What is geotourism?

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 incorporates the sustainability concept that destinations should remain unspoiled for future generations; it also principle that tourism revenue can promote conservation of the environment, culture, history and all the distinctive assets of a place. For more information on "geotourism" and how the term came into popular useage see Wikipedia

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