The Division of Applied Science invited distinguished speaker Ms. Cindy Choi, Chairman of the Association for Geconservation, Hong Kong, to share with the students of Geography and Resources Management (GRMG) Concentration Studies the sustainable development and challenges faced by UNESCO global geoparks and geotourism in China.

應用科學學部早前邀請到香港地貌岩石保育協會主席蔡慕貞女士蒞臨國際學院與「地理及資源管理」專修同學分享, 主題為聯合國教科文組織世界地質公園和中國地質旅遊的可持續發展和面臨的挑戰。

Ms. Choi began by highlighting that China had 41 out of the 195 UNESCO global geoparks as of 21 Mar 2024, making it the country with the highest number of geoparks in the world. She emphasised the significance of geotourism and geoparks in supporting sustainable development, noting that different geoparks in China exhibit a diverse range of geological, ecological and cultural characteristics, including granite, karst, sandstone, volcano, glacier, desert, paleontology, humanities, minerals, and ecology.

蔡女士稱截至2024年3月21日, 全球現有195個被列爲聯合國教科文組織世界地質公園,其中中國擁有41個,為世界上地質公園數量最多的國家。她強調地質旅遊和地質公園於支持可持續發展具相當的重要性,中國各地的地質公園展示了多樣的地質、生態和文化特徵,包括花崗岩、喀斯特、砂岩、火山、冰川、沙漠、古生物、人文、礦物和生態。

Xingyi UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the Xingyi City, Guizhou, China. Its Wanfenglin is a classic karst landscape with a forest of rocky peaks and karst valleys. [Photo credit: Ms. Cindy Choi]
Zhangye UNESCO Global Geopark is located in Gansu, China and is famous for its spectacular colorful mountain range of sandstone formation with mixed colors of red, yellow, blue, white, green. [Photo credit: Ms. Cindy Choi]

Ms. Choi used Wudalianchi UNESCO Global Geopark which is known for its well-preserved volcanic landforms, including various types of volcanoes, craters, lava tunnel and lava formations as an example. The geopark also features a string of five lakes known as Wudalianchi, earning it the nickname of "Natural Volcano Museum." Ms. Choi highlighted the importance of geopark laws, environmentally friendly practices, and effective management in Wudalianchi Geopark. Notable initiatives included using e-vehicles, constructing wooden trails for block lava flow observation, and implementing diligent monitoring and review processes.


Wudalianchi UNESCO Global Geopark, located in Heihe City, Heilongjiang Province, is a natural landscape predominantly characterized by a group of volcanic lakes. Its Shilong Terrace is a unique geological landscape formed by volcanic eruptions, presenting magnificent and peculiar rock formations. [Photo credit: Ms. Cindy Choi]
Wudalianchi is famous for its unique volcanic fumaroles. These fumaroles are formed by the eruption of underground gases, creating circular or elliptical depressions surrounded by fragmented volcanic rocks. [Photo credit: Ms. Cindy Choi]

In addition to sharing success stories, Ms. Choi discussed the challenges faced by Wudalianchi Geopark. These challenges included the closure of the geopark during the cold season (November to March), the potential strain on carrying capacity during peak tourist periods, natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and changes in management units.


GRMG students found Ms. Choi's talk both interesting and enlightening, as it deepened their understanding of China's global geoparks. They came to appreciate the vital role that geoparks play in environmental conservation, sustainable development, and their broader impact on the economy and society.


GRMG students are inspired by Ms. Cindy Choi's talk (Cindy is the sixth person on the front row), appreciating geoparks and their value, and committed to conserving these natural wonders and promoting responsible geotourism for future generations.