Geopark Shetland has secured four more years as a member of the Global Geoparks Network supported by UNESCO. Assessors who visited Shetland in August reported “a process of enormous development” over the past four years.
In September the UK National Commission to UNESCO published a report, which estimates the annual financial benefit of Global Geoparks to the UK as £18.84 million, stating that “The benefits of Global Geopark status arise from using the designation to increase tourism… and to attract funding for regional development”.
Geopark Shetland has secured over £200,000 in funding since joining the European Geopark Network in 2009, and has seen growing increases in awareness of Geopark status: in 2012, 76% of people surveyed knew that Shetland was a Geopark and 11% of respondents from outside Shetland said the Geopark was “part of their reason for visiting the islands”.
The Geopark recently developed Shetland’s first tourism app for iPhone / Android, and is collaborating with Geoparks from Norway, Iceland and Canada to promote the North Atlantic Region (http://northerngeoroutes.com/). It is currently working with Shetland Arts Development Agency (http://www.shetlandarts.org/) and Northern Focus Parkour (http://www.northernfocusparkour.co.uk/) to help people enjoy Shetland’s world class earth heritage in creative and active ways. Further news on facebook, twitter and www.geoparkshetland.org.uk.