Out Of This World
Our World | On 31, Oct 2013
Last year I wrote an Our World piece about Virgin offering a frequent flyer promotion to win a trip on their Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two shuttle. At the time it struck me that this was a travel incentive that, although headline grabbing, was unlikely to float everyone’s boat. However, maybe times are changing faster than I thought as new research from ABTA shows that one in three people would love to take a trip to Outer Space.
Come fly with me
To coincide with United Nations World Space Week at the beginning of October, the survey carried out by ABTA revealed that 30 per cent of the public said they’d love to travel into space given the chance and another 20 per cent would be prepared to give it a go once travel into space has been test driven. Perhaps predictably, younger people are much keener on taking an inter-planetary trip with 43 per cent saying they would love to travel into space, climbing to 73% once it has been test driven. 38 per cent of men say they would love to travel into space climbing to 60 per cent once it has been test driven, but only 23 per cent of women are keen, climbing to just 41 per cent once it has been test driven.
Clearly the demand is there and growing but for most, this ambition seems as out of reach as the stars themselves. But now it appears the only barrier is money. In 2001 Dennis Tito paid $20m to become earth’s first space tourist when he blasted off to the International Space Station. So far only six more have followed him but more “affordable” options are coming with Virgin Galactic offering trips into space for a ‘mere’ $250,000 and reports suggest their first flight will be in early 2014.
The shape of things to come
So how long before we have our first corporate space event? That would take team building to a whole new level or perhaps be the sales incentive where the sky wasn’t the limit.
Victoria Bacon ABTA Head of Communications said: “100 years ago the idea of being able to fly to Australia in 24 hours would have been laughed at or seen as science fiction; now it’s commonplace. At present leisure space travel is in its infancy, but the history of the travel industry shows that when there exists a clear public appetite for a destination or experience, a combination of technological and entrepreneurial know-how will make it happen.”
I’m not sure it will ever get off the ground (sorry couldn’t resist) in my lifetime as an option for the corporate event’s market but then who knows things are changing fast. When I was a kid, the average school trip was a day out to Calais or a castle if you were lucky. Last week I signed my son up for a school trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Centre in Alabama to attend a Science and Technology Space Academy programme.
Maybe we still all want to experience something new and extraordinary that a virtual meeting can never compete with. After all how many times have you had a brief that asks for something unique or that hasn’t been done before or for a new destination? Well this would certainly answer that one!