Bring up geology in a conversation and it will soon become apparent that the general public has limited knowledge on the geological diversity of North West Europe and its determining influence on the history and culture of the region. Building on the existing UNESCO network of European Geoparks, ten partners from Northern Ireland, Ireland and Germany have pooled together their resources and expertise to promote North West Europe’s geological heritage. The project’s first objective is to promote “geotourism” at European level as a means of sustainable local development to deprived rural areas. A joint marketing strategy will be defined so that all three parks are jointly promoted to a selection of target groups across North West Europe. Sustainability is another important objective which leads the partnership to lay down high standards of quality for the three Geoparks that have been identified as testing grounds to this transnational approach. Each site is particularly associated to volcanism and water action: the caves of Marble Arch in Northern Ireland, Vulkaneiffel in Germany and the Copper Coast in the Republic of Ireland. Over €4 million will be invested to equip these three Geoparks with cutting edge technologies such as touch screen information points, DVD presentations on rock formation or dynamic lighting systems to enhance visitor interpretation and create web virtual links between the three locations. Thanks to NWE Programme funding the concept of a European Geoparks network concept makes a significant step forward. Achievements: The main outcome is the internationalization of our geotouristic efforts with responsible care for our geo-environment, high quality geotouristic products, and cross border, transnational cooperation. all the multi lingual leaflets ans brochures printed within the INTERREG project let the expert and lay reader know about our geoparks.
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