Assessing Geosites for Geotourism Development: Case Studies from the Southern Part of Sri Lanka

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Although Sri Lanka is known for its many geodiverse attractions, it has not fully recognized and capitalized on its potential to promote geotourism. This study evaluates the potential of two geotourism case study areas, Ussangoda and the Kudawella blowhole, in the southern part of the island which is well frequented by tourists. We provide a blueprint on how to assess the development potential of geotourism sites by employing three types of analyses: Firstly, we estimated the numerical value of various characteristics of the sites important for the development for geotourism, including their scientific, tourism, and conservation values along with the value added by other (non-geotourism) features. Secondly a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis was performed which builds on the results from the numerical evaluation but provides a more in-depth narrative evaluation. Thirdly, the SWOT analysis can be extended and used to generate a threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths (TOWS) matrix which identifies the relationships between these factors and enables to select strategies by providing a succinct tabular overview as the basis for tourism development strategies. We exemplified this multi-step analysis on the Ussangoda and Kudawella blowhole and identified that both sites harbor significant potential as geotourism sites. A private–public partnership between communities and local authorities, as well as universities should be considered to develop geotourism in Sri Lanka.

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