International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, 8th -14th September 2018, Adamello Brenta Geopark, Trentino, Italy.
– Authors: Soma Sayedyonesi, Alireza Amrikazemi, Masoumeh Rezaee, Mehdi Abbasi, Vesal Yahya Sheibani & Kimia Sadat Ajayebi
Geopark as a unified and comprehensive system is highly depended on local communities and their benefits. There are several ways which locals can benefit from a geopark such as establishing local guest houses and restaurants, local tour guiding, geoproducts production and etc. Geoproducts not only can bring income for producers but also could be an excellent way to transfer knowledge and raise awareness about a geopark and its related features.
It is better any aspiring geopark take a self-evaluation and reaches the minimum standards of the UNESCO Global Geoparks. Products of these aspiring geoparks also need to be evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively to resolve their deficiencies.
Product evaluation in Qeshm Island UGGp, Aras and Tabas Aspiring Geoparks showed that the main deficiency of their existing products were lack of their relevance to various geopark elements such as nature, geology, landscape and culture. These evaluations were based on the criteria specified in Geoproduct Quality Standard which includes basic quality assessment, product features and characteristics, Informative content, environment friendly, creativity and innovation, etc.
Another issue identified in the geoproduct evaluation was the lack of proper packaging and sufficient information on the products. Lack of proper packaging not only causes damage to the product but also due to the lack of proper appearance, customers are less willing to buy these products. Good packaging is a package that protects the product, have an appearance which is attractive and appropriate to the goods and it also includes sufficient descriptions of the product and its storage conditions. In three focused areas including Qeshm Island, Aras and Tabas Aspiring Geoparks, products were damaged due to extreme climate conditions, products were supplied in bulk and without packaging or lack of sufficient description of the product on the packaging were preventing proper recognition of the products and their proper sale. By designing package and bundling for selected products of these geoparks, now the quality level of products has increased and the local community has been keen to improve their packaging.
Using the geoproduct evaluation system can determine level of existing products and what actions are needed to be done to reach the optimum level. The work experience in these three aspiring geoparks proved that this issue in geopark needs attention and consideration too.
Geoparks may design and prepare new concept products by using artists and designers and transfer the techniques to locals through workshop and training courses. In this way, local people will be encouraged to involve in producing new products in the framework of geopark priorities.