The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Global Geoparks initiative balances the conservation of geological heritage with its use in purposes of tourism industry. However, the resources of geoparks and the current state of their use are yet to be fully understood. The phenomenon of karst (caves, sinkholes, etc.) appears to be a valuable geopark resource because it attracts numerous visitors interested in geo-, eco-, and speleotourism. Of 140 global geoparks, 37% exploit karst resources. These are located chiefly in Europe and Southeast Asia. Just a few geoparks are fully based on karst features and the others use this resource together with other geological heritage resources. Global geoparks tend to emphasize either particular karst elements or entire karst landscapes. Many interesting features (e.g., gypsum and salt karst) are underrepresented in global geoparks. The UNESCO Global Geoparks initiative should become more phenomenon-focused to offer full representation of karst resources. For some countries like Russia and the United States, where geoparks have not been created yet, the consideration of karst resources may provide significant advantages in the strategic development of geopark-based geotourism.
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