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Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090329

Tailoring Signs to Engage Two Distinct Types of Geotourists to Geological Sites

Department of Educational Leadership and Management, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geotourism)
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Abstract

Interpretive signs are the silent ambassadors of geosites and serve a diverse audience. The primary aim of this study is to develop signs for geosites targeted at two unique groups of geotourists. A conceptual multidisciplinary geotourist typology is formulated to identify two main classes of geotourists comprising the audience. Latent and archetypal geotourists inhabit various roles at geotourism sites depending on their expectations for the event, affecting the visitor experience via fluid contextual factors. Principally, latent geotourists arrive seeking novel touristic experiences while archetypal geotourists seek knowledge-building opportunities. Because signs represent one fragment of the multi-dimensional visitor experience, an approach that offers a palette of options is advocated. After the unified typology to identify the audience is presented, a multi-layered technique that offers both interpretation and a link to augmented information on signs is suggested. Some best practices in sign design are described and preliminary plans for testing are shared. The author’s overriding goal is to refine the mechanics and format of signs to garner maximum attracting and holding power, ensuring that the message is read and the target outcome is achieved. By providing tools to visitors to geological sites that enable them to create narratives that are compatible with their expectations, we facilitate a multi-dimensional constructive experience that engages everyone. View Full-Text
Keywords: casual leisure; geotourism; interpretation; leisure behavior; recreational specialization; serious leisure; visitor studies casual leisure; geotourism; interpretation; leisure behavior; recreational specialization; serious leisure; visitor studies
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Prendivoj, S.M. Tailoring Signs to Engage Two Distinct Types of Geotourists to Geological Sites. Geosciences 2018, 8, 329.

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