Montréal is first city to sign National Geographic Geotourism Charter - Program Promotes Destination Stewardship



    MONTREAL, Oct. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Geographic Society today
recognizes Montréal's continued commitment to destination stewardship by
joining with preservation, tourism and government officials in signing a
Geotourism Charter for the city. Greater Montréal is the first urban center,
and the seventh global destination, to sign the charter, joining Guatemala,
Honduras, Norway, Romania and U.S. states of Arizona and Rhode Island.
    "In signing the Geotourism Charter, Montréal can provide more appealing
experiences for visitors and increased support for Montréal's significant
heritage sites, urban cultural centers and green space conservation," said
John Francis, National Geographic's vice president for research, conservation
and exploration. "It also results in a positive economic and social impact for
local residents living and working in this metropolitan city."
    Geotourism Charters are a key program element of the National Geographic
Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations (CSD), which aims to protect the
world's distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened
destination stewardship. Geotourism is defined as "tourism that sustains or
enhances the geographical character of a place - its environment, culture,
aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents." Given the
tremendous scale of urban tourism worldwide, the CSD wanted to bring urban
centers into its geotourism approach.
    The CSD cited three reasons for awarding the Geotourism Charter to
Greater Montréal: a history of destination stewardship; a commitment to future
geotourism activities; and leadership in the global preservation and tourism
industries.
    The metropolitan city's long track record of collaboration among
citizens, preservation and conservation associations, public authorities and
the tourism industry has resulted in appropriate care for its unique historic,
cultural and natural assets.
    Secondly, in its application for the Geotourism Charter, Greater Montréal
is committed to creating new sustainable tourism programs. Specifically, the
proposed adoption and implementation of a work plan tied to the Geotourism
Principles, including production of a geotourism map and an interpretive
audio-guide for Greater Montréal, will help further the ideals of sustainable
tourism.
    CSD also applauded the involvement and leadership of Tourisme Montréal
and Héritage Montréal on the world stage. "The active participation of
Tourisme Montréal in the United Nations World Tourism Organization and
Héritage Montréal's contributions to the International Council of Monuments
and Sites was an important factor in our decision," said Francis. The
Montréal-based World Centre of Excellence for Destinations, of which National
Geographic is a founding member, is also the result of a Tourisme Montréal
initiative.
    "The preservation of Old Montréal, Mont-Royal and the Lachine Canal, and
its good tourism and cultural relations, will serve as examples for other
destinations," Francis added. "Montréal is also a geotourism model with its
many green spaces and urban parks, demonstrating the importance placed by the
city on preserving the environment."

    Montréal's Geotourism Charter was signed at an event attended by the
Honorable Charles Lapointe, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal; Robert
Turgeon, president of Heritage Montréal; Andre Vallerand, president, World
Centre of Excellence for Destinations, and chairman, Destination Council,
United Nations World Tourism Organization; Gerald Tremblay, mayor of Montréal;
and National Geographic's John Francis.

    The National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest nonprofit
scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to "increase and
diffuse geographic knowledge," the Society works to inspire people to care
about the planet. It reaches more than 300 million people worldwide each month
through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines;
National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films;
books; DVDs; maps; school publishing programs; interactive media; and
merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 8,000 scientific
research projects and supports an education program combating geographic
illiteracy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com or visit
the Web page for the Centre for Sustainable Destinations at
www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/.




For further information:

For further information: Cheryl Hargrove, National Geographic, (202)
828-8062, chargrov@ngs.org

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