The conference, a world-first, will set the benchmark for the tourism industry for the development, management, marketing and promotion of geologically significant and interesting sites.
The term geotourism refers to 'geological tourism', which includes tourists looking at and enjoying natural landscapes including landforms and rocks, as well as understanding the processes that have shaped them over time.
Professor Dowling, UNESCO Global Geoparks Advisor and also the co-editor of the first book about the subject, Geotourism, in collaboration with Dr David Newsome from Murdoch University, says the conference promises to provide insight into the development of this relatively new form of tourism across the globe.
"This conference will bring together geoscientists, tourism experts, academics and environmentalists to share knowledge and expertise with a view to promoting geotourism while simultaneously protecting our natural heritage", he said.
ECU's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kerry Cox, said he is pleased ECU is able to support and contribute to discussion surrounding this emerging area of tourism.
"Professor Dowling's leadership in the geotourism field is yet another example of ECU's researchers contributing to a greater understanding of the world around us," Professor Cox said.
Keynote speakers include the Hon. Damien O'Connor, Minister for Tourism, New Zealand, Mr Steve Martin, Superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States, and Mr Said Al Musharfi, Director of Tourism Product Development from the Ministry of Tourism in the Sultanate of Oman.
The conference is supported by ECU, Tourism Western Australia, the Department of Environment and Conservation and Tourism Australia.
The Global Geotourism Conference is being held at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle from Sunday, 17 August to Wednesday, 20 August 2008. More information about the conference is available at www.promaco.com.au/2008/geotm.
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Convened by Professor Ross Dowling, Foundation Professor of Tourism at Edith Cowan University (ECU) and Chair of the Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism (FACET), the Global Geotourism Conference will take place from 17 - 20 August 2008 in Perth.