UNESCO has sent warnings to three Chinese geoparks, telling them they are in danger of being expelled from the list of Global Geoparks.
Mount Lushan Geopark in Jiangxi Province, Wudalianchi Geopark in Heilongjiang Province and the iconic Zhangjiajie Geopark in Hunan Province received warnings on January 9 for failing to offer visitors appropriate geographical information, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
All three geoparks have been given until 2014 to improve their services and pass comprehensive evaluations by the Global Geopark Network.
Several tourists at the Zhangjiajie Geopark contacted by the Global Times complained that some local tour guides are not very knowledgeable.
"The signs posting explanations of the site along the route are not very clear either," a tourist surnamed Dong told the Global Times Sunday.
Zhang Jianguo, director of the Zhangjiajie's land and resources office, told the Xinhua News Agency on Saturday that the local government would improve the facilities by launching a geology museum.
"If they want to stay on the list, Zhangjiajie and other geoparks should think about more than just making money." Fang Shiming, a professor of Wuhan-based China University of Geosciences, told the Global Times Sunday.
UNESCO's website defines a geopark as "a unified area with geological heritage of international significance." UNESCO lists 27 recognized geoparks in China.
The geopark is a relatively new concept on the mainland China and Chinese geoparks have not provided enough integrated education programs nor developed proper visitor services, Fang told the Global Times.
Source: Global Times