International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, 27th -30th September 2016, English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark, Torbay, England.
– Authors: Soma Sayedyounesi & Alireza Amrikazemi
One of the geoparks aims is to empower the local community economy alongside the introduction and promotion of the earth science concepts. The production of Geoproducts has created new employment opportunities for the local community, the revival of hand crafts and promotion of local culture, increasing income, etc. It also can acquaint visitors with the cultural and geological characteristics of geopark. Qeshm Island Aspiring Geopark over the past year started to develop the first geoproducts standards based on the national, local and Halal criteria. The standard concerns elementary requirements of geoproducts production and commercialization, including: health issues, determining the origin of raw materials, controlling unallowed materials to use in the production, proper packaging, etc. Those interested in the geoproduct production, have to undergo inspection by geopark staff to ensure compliance with the standards and product quality grading checks. Once approved producers, will receive a certificate. Among other steps, new geoproducts have been designed and produced based on natural, cultural and geological elements in the geopark with the help of artists and experts. In addition, existing products have also been optimized quality improvement, package reformatting, adding the interpretative contents, etc.) Finally, along with the geopark goals, training courses and workshops have been held for women and school children to participate actively in designing, manufacturing and packaging geoproducts, to gain economic benefits, as well as learning more about geopark and geoproducts concepts. Separate workshops or briefing sessions are held for local producers, tour operators and local tour guides, geopark partners, crafts shops, and also for hotels and restaurants to make them aware of the benefits of cooperation in the field of introducing and selling geoproducts. At present there is an increasing demand from local producers to join this program; it is a proof of achievement for the Qeshm Island Aspiring Geopark Goals.