Tucson’s a Natural for Geotourism
The term geotourism was created by National Geographic to describe a branch of tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a destination. Tucson’s geotourism leaders define it as a sense of place – emphasizing what makes this region so distinctive.
Two primary initiators of the local geotourism effort are Joaquin Ruiz, University of Arizona College of Science dean, and Rick Neter, director of special projects and marketing for the college.
“I asked Joaquin what is most unique about our area and he said we have more plant and animal species than anywhere in the U.S. except for an ecosystem in Florida. Other markets have sun and golf courses – but we have biodiversity in the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert,” Neter said.
They wanted to start developing ecotourism in Southern Arizona, Neter said. “So we set off on the process. Joaquin is the leader and visionary. I’m the implementer,” said Neter, who is also the director of business and finance at Biosphere 2.