Flavors of Travel

Cavernas - Turismo científico

The road maps combine scientific knowledge with the exploration of new landscapes and allow the visitor to act as an assistant in the research activities.

By: Christina Queiroz

A concept that refers to travel and expeditions undertaken for purposes associated with science, the idea of science tourism dates back to the late nineteenth century, when expeditions and field studies began to integrate research strategies. Aimed at amateurs, today it involves initiatives to deepen knowledge of, for example, the historical and geological heritage of a given region, astronomical and nature observation activities and laboratory immersion.

“A pioneering initiative of what we call today science tourism was the expeditions of Charles Darwin [1809-1882], who embarked in Plymouth, United Kingdom, on board the ship Beagle in February 1831 for a journey of four years and nine months to map the coast of South America,” says Bruna Ranção Conti, professor of tourism at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Unirio). The work was based on the concepts she presented in A origem das espécies, published in 1859. According to Conti, academic discussion in Brazil about science tourism began in the 1980s and, since then, the term has been used to characterize the work of exploring certain historical, natural and urban landscapes. “Science tourism is always associated with other modalities, such as ecological and cultural tourism, and can also be part of study and exchange tourism”.

When associated with culture, scientific tourism is presented as an experience in which the visitor will have contact, for example, with the customs and values of the place visited. Related to ecotourism, it involves the production of scientific knowledge in activities such as cave exploration, bird watching, environmental studies in conservation units, among others. “In Brazil, one of the main fields of development of this modality is that of geological parks,” says the researcher…

 

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