Stewardship Resources

Geotourism magazine

A Model with a Caveat

Geotourisme magazine was a social franchise model pioneered by the people of Montreal, Canada, the first urban signatory to the National Geographic Geotourism Charter. The print edition was published yearly until 2015 and distributed in various ways, most notably on the airport buses into the Montreal city center. The transit company, STM, was a prime sponsor. 

In May 2012, Geotourisme introduced its interactive edition, featuring new online functionalities and downloadable apps with geolocation capability. A geotourism Citizen Wall provided events for visitors and residents. Both content and apps were almost entirely created by volunteers, coordinated by the Geotourisme publisher and staff editor.

Publisher Richard Turgeon and geotourism-originator Jonathan Tourtellot believe the Montreal model has the potential for replication in any destination with a talented pool of volunteers and likely sponsors. Without sponsors, however, the model is not viable.

For that reason, Geotourisme had to cease publication in 2015. Geotourisme was created and managed independently of Montreal’s DMO (destination marketing organization), Tourisme Montréal, with the potential for perceived competition.

For future deployment of this model, Mr. Tourtellot suggests that structuring it as the autonomous stewardship communication component of the existing DMO might provide a stronger foundation. The geotourism magazine and app would operate in effect as the DMO’s social-responsibility arm and strengthen its perceived role in the community. That would of course require that the DMO actually have a sustainability-oriented mandate or funding allocation. (A similar challenge has faced stewardship-flavored Wander magazine in Loudoun county, Virginia, USA, where the DMO’s mandate is limited to marketing.)

For more on the social franchise model, download the Geotourism Magazine Franchise Concept (pdf). And for a press kit, download Media Kit GeoMag 2013 (pdf). If interested in learning more about this approach, contact


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