Geotourism - Conserving Heritage and Generating Post-Mining Economies for Communities
Geotourism adds considerable holistic content value to traditional nature-based tourism as well as cultural attributes (embracing both Aboriginal and post European settlement) having regard to mining aspects and can be delivered through mechanisms such as geotrails and geoparks within defined ‘GeoRegions’. By raising awareness of the importance of the area’s geological heritage in society today, geotourism gives local people a sense of pride in their region and strengthens their identification with the area.
In recognition of these benefits, the National Geotourism Strategy, launched in April 2021 embraces seven strategic goals that includes (Goal 5) i.e., ‘to develop geotourism in regional mining communities with potential geoheritage and cultural heritage sites’. Goal 5 identifies opportunities for geotourism in rural and regional Australian post (or active) mining communities, and their recreational, educational, and cultural values can be realised. Goal 5 also aims to draw attention to the range of activities that could be conducted in these places. By way of example, a national mining park has also been proposed for the NSW Hunter Valley to celebrate the significant role mining has played in Australia’s development.
Several topics which could form the basis for incorporating this aspiration into Goal 5 have been identified. These include issues relating to the consequences of mine closure. The current emphasis is on environmental remediation (make safe, stable, and non-polluting). This needs to be broadened to preserve the mining heritage including geologically significant, mineralised outcrops, structures (e.g., buildings, workings, and equipment) and other artifacts (e.g., mining and personnel records).
An exploration geologist by profession, Angus established Leisure Solutions® in 1993 and joined Ecotourism Australia as a member. Since 2011, he has led geotourism development for the Geological Society of Australia, establishing the Geotourism Standing Committee, and now serving in a pro-bono capacity as the Coordinator, National Geotourism Strategy for the Australian Geoscience Council, that represents Australia’s eight main geoscience societies, which also includes The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in which Angus has served in a range of leadership roles over the past 35 years.
Prior to 2008, Angus was engaged in leadership roles relating to various major tourism attractions, technology diffusion through The Warren Centre of Advanced Engineering, technology park development, and as Chief Executive of a major high-tech manufacturing industry association. His work has focused on national strategy development, particularly in developing industry linkages in the Greater China Region. In earlier years, he worked in coal mining industry development roles, and in base metal and gold exploration.