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Geotourism as a Sustainable Business Kents Cavern, Torquay, UK: Nick Powe

Presentation to the Second International Workshop on the Business of Geotourism and Geoparks, 14th May, Perth, Western Australia

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Geotourism as a Sustainable Business Kents Cavern, Torquay, UK: Nick Powe

  1. 1. 20/05/2018 1 Geotourism as a Sustainable Business Kents Cavern, Torquay, UK FACET International Workshop – Perth WA Nick Powe – May 2018 Cave with protection equivalent to Stonehenge • About the geosite and its geological heritage • Scientific importance and research • Educational offer • Geotourism activities • Sustainable business Torbay English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Diversify the offer • Took over Kents Cavern in 2000 • Changes in visitor economy meant a focus on Geotourism • Visit to Marble Arch Caves Urban cave
  2. 2. 20/05/2018 2 • Devonian – Torquay is type locality • Permian – Creatures older than dinosaurs at Goodrington • Quaternary – Oldest human settlement in Europe 400 million years Stalagmite floors Father John MacEnery Exploring in 1820s • “The cooccurrence of extinct animal species and evidence for a human presence could not be more than accidental.” • Rev Wm Buckland Antiquity of man William Pengelly The Great Excavation 1865 - 1880 “The exactitude of the Kents Cavern excavation would not be repeated anywhere else in the world for decades” Prof. Donald McFarlane George Smerdon at Southern Entrance 1865 Human Jawbone Published in Nature Nov 2011
  3. 3. 20/05/2018 3 Kents Cavern Foundation Registered charity No: 1154561 • Conservation, Education, Outreach, Research • Stone Age School Lower Palaeolithic Flint handaxe c.500,000yo Upper Palaeolithic Human jaw bone c. 41,000yo Middle Palaeolithic Neanderthal Flint c.90,000yo Unique cave in the World Same place used by humankind for over 500,000 years Bronze and Iron Age and Roman artefacts Geological story reveals Stone Age heritage • Landbridges, hunters, gatherers “Modern” visitors • Roman coins at The Face c.2100 years ago • Oldest inscription William Petre 1571 1780s Southern Entrance Beatrix Potter -1893 • Cultural heritage • Development of earth science George Smerdon Francis Powe Private ownership since 1903
  4. 4. 20/05/2018 4 • Caves need compelling reasons for visitors to return • Offer adapted to audience • Story telling Geotourism activities Aligned to geological heritage Performing Art Activities • Ghost tours • Santa in the Caves • Shakespeare Underground • Short-run performance art • Concerts and talks • ……. and Guided tours Geoproducts in hospitality • Firestone Kitchen • Connections to our core message – Gatherer Salad – Firestone Flatbread – Wild boar burger
  5. 5. 20/05/2018 5 • Marketing and social media • Customer service – guiding and hospitality • Unique offers for group travel operators • Strategic relationships with stakeholders Sustainable business Visitors • 80,000 pa • Open 7 days/week • 5,000 children • 15% overseas • Secondary revenue = >50% primary Britain’s Oldest Home Geotourism is at the heart of the economic sustainability of the business Thank you