The 5th Asia-Pacific Geoparks Network Symposium was held in Zhijin International Conference Centre, Zhijin, China, September 19-22, 2017. The Symposium was organised by Zhijindong Cave UNESCO Global Geopark and supported by Global Geoparks Network (GGN), Asia Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN), Chinese Geoparks Network (CGN), Bijie Municipal Government, Provincial Department of Land and Resources of Guizhou, and the Zhijin Government. A total of about 800 participants from many countries attended the meet. CCOPTS had attended the meeting with the aim to expose, advertise and invite GGN/APGN as partner for geopark capacity building programmes.
The symposium opening ceremony and keynote speeches were mainly held on the morning of the first day, 19th September. Many oral presentations and some keynotes followed suit throughout the event duration. Many geoparks booths were opened and had attracted large crowd of interested participants.
UGGN has now 37 countries memberships. China has the most number of global geoparks in the world, total 35, and with 205 approved national geoparks. It has been estimated that about more than 250 million visitors visited China geoparks each year, generating hundreds billions yuan of total income. Thus geopark concept, apart from protecting the geological heritage, it promotes local development including culture, infrastructure, industries etc, and is a good income earner for the locals, especially boosting the tourism industries.
In the 4 days meet, a one day excursion was arranged to the Zhijindong Cave UGG Museum, Zhijindong Cave (dubbed the most beautiful cave in China), karsts landscapes such as gorge, natural bridge, cuesta and caves in Qijehe River, and the Miao minority village. A short discussion on GGN-CCOP partnership was granted by the five UGGN board members with CCOPTS representative, Dr Kamaludin Hassan, in the evening of the 2nd day Symposium.