Geoparks are innovative tourism destinations with an active role in the development, promotion, commerce and income of tourism sustainable experiences based on local geodiversity and related cultural legacy (Geotourism). In the very competitive international market of tourism, the geoparks cannot stand only on very well organized, high-quality services for competitive prices, they request a wide marketing impact.
The ITB Berlin – The International Tourism Trade Show – is one of the leading tourism fairs in the world, where more than 120,000 professionals meet over 10,000 exhibitors coming from over 180 countries in a 160,000m2 area. UNESCO Global Geoparks have been present in ITB for more than 10 years. The Geoparks have been promoted regularly in ITB in the Pow-Wow symposia for Tourism Professionals organized in the Adventure Travel & Responsible Tourism Hall. Since 2012, UNESCO Naturtejo Geopark from Portugal has been coordinating the Global Geoparks booth in partnership with several German, as well as other European and Global Geoparks from China and Uruguay, with some of them with World Heritage Sites, as Bergstrasse-Odewald Geopark and Messel Pit, in Germany. In this partnership open to any UNESCO Geopark, the aim is to promote the GEOPARK brand closer to the tourism trade. Individual geoparks share the high cost of participating in such international events and cooperate to get wider audience among international media and tour operators. The 30-36m2 booth is the main stage for cultural events, educational activities, business meetings, information for professionals and public, and traditional products exhibit of geoparks. The stand is designed and built locally in UNESCO Naturtejo Geopark in Portugal and was bestowed several times with the Best Exhibitor Award of ITB. This space works frequently also as the first contact between institutions and the geoparks world, where an introduction to the Global Geoparks can be found through personal contact, brochures and the European Geoparks Magazine.
Finally, in Germany, the largest tourism market for Nature Tourism, the geoparks that developed tour packages can directly contact specialized media and tour operators. This year celebrated by UN as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, including GGN as Gold Partner, ITB is going to heat the Tourism Industry between 8 and 12th March. The UNESCO Global Geoparks partnership for the ITB includes Naturtejo from Portugal, Bergstrasse-Odenwald and Messel Pit WHS, Harz-Braunschweigerland-Ostfalen, TERRA.Vita, Vulkaneifel and Muskau Arch from Germany, Karawanken from Austria, Odsherred from Denmark, Villuercas-Ibores-Jara from Spain, Hondsrug from Holland and Lesvos from Greece. Several other geoparks will have their promotional materials at the Geoparks booth. Activities for professionals and general public are being organized by the participating geoparks to increase the visibility of the UNESCO Geoparks brand.