This paper presents empirical research that supports territorial approaches to tourism product development that ground tourism in science, as a mechanism to support sustainable tourism heritage conservation goals. Scientific Tourism
(ST), in this context, builds on the scientific heritage of a geography, matching researchers with local actors and tourists, through a five-stage iterative process that leads to new scientific knowledge, advancing theory and building relevance for communities through socio-cultural and economic development. This article focuses on the initial stage of the ST product development process, documenting empirical research conducted within the geographies surrounding the Palena River watershed in the Aysén Region of Chilean Patagonia. Both geo-structured literature review methods and results are presented and discussed to illustrate how the outcomes, including a series of maps, can inform and ground actors’ processes of heritage resource identification, justification, conservation, and exhibition, through the development of pilot ST initiatives within the territory. Similar research approaches may prove valuable for other low-density and peripheral geographies that share an interest in grounding tourism on the science taking place within their geography.
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