How can science contribute to the tourism of tomorrow?

Still from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Belief in science is belief in progress with the idea that the world benefits from technological progress to meet the challenges of contemporary societies. In this column, we will question these science and technology concepts for designing the tourism of tomorrow. We will first return to the idealized form of the world before presenting the different dimensions of scientific tourism. Finally, we will see how digital technology allows travelers to contribute to scientific research.

In the systematic critique of tourism, it is assumed that by analyzing travelers’ motivations, we can differentiate between Good The wrong tourism. For example, good tourism is cultural tourism, One of the means of combating the “marketing” of tourist relations, especially of the so-called “mass” tourism. (Cousin, 2008). By forcing the line, the “To escape the mystery of the tourist, one must be an anthropologist and travel ‘at the expense of the princess’ as part of his business.” (MIT, 2002). Therefore, it seems that only scholar and scientist are exempt from travel because they are far from folklore and guided by academic matters. In this narrow vision of tourism, there is, however, part of the truth, which is the development of scientific tourism with sustainable manifestations.

By trusting in science and therefore in progress, science tourism offers to connect tourists – whatever their profile – with scientific research.

The scientific figure in popular culture

Cinema shares an archetype of the scholar who, like knowledge It can bring knowledge to solve complex backgrounds. The most famous is undoubtedly Professor Jones, AKA Indiana Jones. An archaeologist travels the world to find lost treasures and participate in the spread of knowledge. Furthermore, this is the same number of knowledge that has been acclaimed in him Jurassic Park About Doctors Grant and Sattler, paleontologists and paleontologists, who will be able to validate the scientific reality of the amusement park. To another extent, it is Professor Brown’s unique and exaggerated side that comes to fulfill his vision of the journey but this time, thanks to the inventions of Back to the future. The character of the world in cinema crystallizes in the stereotypes of characters who put their knowledge as an essential link in the adventure.

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Dimensions of scientific tourism

In fact, the travels of scholars are not very similar to the cinema. However, positioning tends to evolve: to incorporate scientific considerations into the flight. Thus, science tourism represents activities in which everyone participates in the production and dissemination of scientific research (INST Network, 2019). The presence of a third party resulting from the research seems necessary but the criteria for participation in the missions are available to all depending on the proposed activity. According to Mao and Borlau (2018), four dimensions of science tourism can be presented:

  • Exploration and adventure tourism with a scientific dimension: Expeditions in the Alps to conquer different peaks or explore the forests in search of biodiversity. If you are a fan of reporting, it is not uncommon to follow these adventures with an adventurer character accompanied by his team of multidisciplinary researchers who ascend wild rivers on portable canoes.
  • Cultural tourism is close to ecotourism (or educational tourism): It brings knowledge that is adapted to the features of each one, whether a beginner or not, children or adults. It is characterized by strong cultural mediation, and can intervene in natural, cultural or industrial settings with more or less significant participation of volunteers and local residents. By linking research with conservation, scientific teams take advantage of the presence of visitors to make them aware of environmental issues. Regional natural parks are the best representatives. Let’s take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome the newcomers: Corbières-Fenouillèdes And Dobbs watchmaker.
  • Research tourism: It corresponds to study in an external field of research or to groupings of research types symposia or university symposia. in the series friendsDr. Ross Geller (paleontologist) takes advantage of a trip to a scientific conference in Barbados to visit the island with his friends (at least the hotel).
  • Scientific ecological volunteering: In contrast to the above-mentioned ecotourism where the tourist remains a spectator, eco-volunteering involves work by the traveler. The volunteer participates in collection or awareness activities according to the missions and under the supervision of a scientist or expert. You can rescue turtles in Costa Rica, help injured elephants from tourist activities or participate in the reforestation of certain areas damaged by human activity.
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Techniques to contribute to scientific tourism

However, it is not mandatory to join a project, team or training to contribute to a science project. New technologies allow everyone to participate even timidly in research projects. The most common case is still participation in the census of animals and plants. Some French initiatives:

  • Planet Net (Floris’Tic): “This research work borders several fields (botany, ecology, computer science, participatory science) and is specifically intended to contribute to the monitoring of plant biodiversity on a global scale.”
  • Moby (New Caledonia from the WWF in France): “This application allows everyone to identify and refer to their observations of marine mammals made in the Oceania region. The application is designed so that everyone can contribute to learning more about this species and thus participate in its protection.”
  • INPN- Species (National Museum of Natural History – Paris): “Share your discoveries with experts so they can name them using the INPN Species app. It allows you to discover the diversity of species around you from your mobile phone and take part in the inventory of your municipality’s biodiversity.”
  • NatureList (Association for the Protection of Birds, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur delegation). “The app allows you to enter your natural observations directly in the field via your smartphone. The data then benefits from validation by a network of experts. It contributes directly and daily to the knowledge and protection of biodiversity.”

These initiatives make it possible to respond to the main difficulty the researcher faces: access to research data. Due to the lack of time at the destination, the lack of monitoring can reduce the quality of searches. Digital technology allows these monitoring tasks to be transmitted to tourists in the regions.

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Finally, you don’t have to be an Indiana Jones to participate in the balance of power in the world. If we still believe in the benefits that science can bring, then scientific research can count on the tourist as a meticulous but enduring collaborator.


Cousin, S. (2008). UNESCO and the Doctrine of Cultural Tourism. Genealogy of “good” tourism. civilizations. International Journal of Anthropology and Human Sciences, (57), 41-56.

MIT Team (2002), Tourism 1. Common Places, Paris, Ed Belen, 320 p.

Mao, B, and Burlon, F. (2011). Scientific tourism: an essay on definition. Teoros: Journal of Tourism ResearchAnd 30(2), 94-104.

INST Network (2019), “What is Science Tourism?”,

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