Major support has been secured from China to provide translation services at the 7th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, which is being hosted by Torbay Council and taking placing at the Riviera International Centre in September.

The Chinese Geoparks Network is providing funding to send five volunteers to Torbay in September and the equipment needed to translate for Chinese delegates at the conference.

The conference will see up to 1000 delegates visiting Torbay from over 50 countries, representing the world’s one hundred and twenty UNESCO Global Geoparks. Over thirty of the Geoparks are located in China, meaning that Torbay will be welcoming many Chinese delegates who will be visiting the area for the first time.

The volunteers chosen include Eric Keung, a very experienced Geopark Guide from Hong Kong and Project Manager of the Environmental Association. he has hosted over 500 Geopark tours for students and tourists since 2010. Eric will be joined by William Chan Pui Cheung, a professional arborist, experienced nature guide and business director of the Sai Kung Community Centre (SKCC). They will be supported by three student volunteers, Bonnie, Carol and Jessie from two of Hong Kong’s top universities.

Gordon Oliver, Elected Mayor of Torbay, said: “This is the first time that this has happened in the conference’s events history and I’m delighted that our conference will benefit from this support. The conference offers us the chance to showcase Torbay to visitors from China and the world over, bringing a boost to the local economy and opportunities for local businesses. This support is an excellent example of partnership working that puts Torbay firmly on the map to overseas markets.

“It is anticipated the conferencewill bring over £1.6million of visitor spend to the local area, providing our business community with a real opportunity to promote their products and services to senior decision makers from the world’s one hundred and twenty global Geoparks. There’s also an opportunity for the local community to get involved with the event as volunteers, helping to welcome delegates and support activities while they are here.”

Nick Powe, owner of Kents Cavern and Chairman of the conference board, said: “The Global Geoparks conference has been held around the world and this is the first time it will be hosted in Great Britain. We have had a sister relationship with Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark since 2009, and now this support from the Chinese Geoparks Network will make sure our colleagues from China enjoy a truly first rate experience at the conference.”

Anyone who is interested in helping out can attend a Volunteer Recruitment Fair for the conference taking place 6.30pm on 25 July at Kents Cavern to find out more, or register your interest on the website

Local businesses wanting to find out more about exhibiting at the conference should email David Randall, the Conference Director on Follow @GGN2016 on twitter or find GGN2016 on facebook for latest news about the conference.

Editor Notes:

The English Riviera Global Geopark successfully bid for the 7th International Conference on Global Geoparks with the support of Torbay Council, Torbay Development Agency, Plymouth University, Exeter University, The Geological Society, British Geological Survey, English Geodiversity Forum, Natural England, Arts Council England, Natural History Museum and Flybe.

The conference takes place every two years and has previously been staged in China (2004) Northern Ireland (2006) Germany (2008) Malaysia (2010) Japan (2012) and Canada (2014.) 2016 will be the first occasion that the conference takes place in Great Britain.

There are seven Global Geoparks in the UK, out of a total UNESCO network of one hundred and twenty in thirty three countries. A Geopark is concerned with conservation of natural heritage, sustainable economic development, promotion of science education and community engagement.

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