As the world becomes environmentally conscious, more people are traveling to certain parts of the world specifically to be part of scientific research. This form of tourism involves non-specialized individuals paying a Non-Governmental Organization, research institute, hotel establishment, or nature club to volunteer in scientific research that they are involved in.
Whether you are searching for an alternative career path, looking to gain experience during a gap year to further your professional self, discovering the true culture of a region, meeting like-minded people, or simply wanting to give back, this type of travel can be quite fulfilling.
It not only benefits the traveler but also provides an increase in finances that facilitate scientific research. This in turn increases community ownership, support and capacity in management. Furthermore, it broadens exposure of the country in which the research is taking place to a wider range of global communities.
Globally, there are many institutes that offer research tourism activities; Earthwatch Institute, Coral Cay Conservation, Operational Wallacea, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Frontier, Global Vision International, Eye to Eye Marine Encounters, and DIVO just to name a few.
Looking closer to home, GVI, MCSS and Nature Seychelles offer research-based travel expeditions to the Seychelles.
Research recruits are given easy access to untouched regions of the Seychelles, such as the Baie Ternay Marine National Park, Curieuse Island, and Cousin Island, allowing them to discover the true rich marine flora and fauna that the small island Nation has to offer.
Volunteers are able to partake in ongoing world class research such as whale shark and turtle monitoring, endemic bird conservation, coral reef research and restoration, etc. Some of these institutions offer short term or even long term packages, depending on the preference of the visitor.
By Ameer Ebrahim, Environmental Consultant