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Published:20th March 1997
Author:S Coniglio
Origin:1st International Symposium on Space Tourism

The World Travel Tourism Council estimates that 1995 revenues for tourism worldwide was $3.4 trillion.1 The city of Orlando, Florida has one of the largest tourism centers in the United States, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. In a recent economic impact study, Orlando received an economic impact of $13.1 billion in 1995 from theme parks, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers.2

NASA's 1994 Commercial Space Transport Study points to a potential for great profit for those who would make tourism in space safe and practical. Space tourism would fit into the category of "exotic" or "adventure" vacations. Opportunities such as climbing Mount Everest and taking a world cruise also fit in these categories. "Adventure" tourism for 1993 was $324 billion and growing.3

Several new companies have formed to tap into nascent space tourism market, such as LunaCorp moon rover project,4 but they have had limited success. What space tourism needs is the involvement of a major tourism or entertainment company to legitimize the industry. This abstract will discuss the first steps that company needs to take to spur growth in the space tourism industry. While no single travel agency has the resources to create a new market, there are several major entertainment companies that do. Walt Disney World, MCA/Universal, Paramount, Time/Warner are just a few examples. Any one of these organizations could profit greatly from the public relations stirred up by a space tourism venture.

This paper will discuss two projects which a major entertainment or tourism corporation could get involved in immediately. First, cross-industry communication can be initiated through conferences between leaders of the hotel, tourism, entertainment, aerospace and other industries. Second, the dream of recreational space travel can be brought closer to reality through a phased approach, starting with sponsorship of the X-Prize contest, by developing simulator rides and virtual reality shows based on actual space projects, and soliciting bids for constructing space cruise ships and an orbital hotel.

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