pISSN 0705-3797 eISSN 2586-1298
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Episodes 2023; 46(2): 211-227

Published online June 1, 2023


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

A case study of Geopark activation through Geobranding and Geotrails at the Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark, Republic of Korea

Yongmun Jeon1, Jung-Goon Koh1, Darren Southcott2*

1World Heritage Office, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Jeju 63341, Republic of Korea
2University of Leicester, Department of Geography, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom

Correspondence to:*E-mail: darrensouthcott@gmail.com

Received: March 28, 2022; Revised: July 8, 2022; Accepted: July 8, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper aims to identify the impact of Geotrails and ‘Geobranded’ activities on economic regeneration and public attitudes to conservation of geological heritage within the Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark. Prior to becoming Geopark sites, Suwolbong Peak Geotrail and the Gyorae Forest Geotrail were respectively in fishing and upland farming communities rarely visited by tourists. This paper outlines the changes experienced in the villages following Geotrail establishment and the operation of ‘Geobranded’ activities, which are resident-led programs operated in partnership with local enterprises and organizations under the Geopark Geobrand. Triangulated data from participant surveys, provincial statistics, and interviews with locals indicate that Geotrails contributed to increased local tourism revenue and economic activity, which was part of a wider increase in local households. Furthermore, event observations and survey data indicate that community participation, particularly through the Geoschool and Geoguide programs, contributed to increased local pride and awareness of geological heritage. A synergistic effect is observed between Geotrail activation, community participation, awareness of local geoheritage, and willingness to protect local Geosites. If implemented alongside education programs and efforts to maximize community participation, Geotrails could help establish a virtuous cycle between trail activation, community participation, and pride in geological heritage, helping inform how other Geosites utilize Geobrands for sustainable development.