A space for space tourism
Every so often, I receive a press release about space tourism — firmed-up plans for an orbiting hotel or bookings opening for spaceflights.
As with news stories related to food products or music (I used to write a blog, and remain on lots of mailing lists despite my best efforts), the silent filter in my brain immediately says “not travel” and, with the release classified as irrelevant to me, I bin it.
Is that right, though? These are, after all, related to hotels and holidays, albeit of the ultimate bucket-list kind. Perhaps I should override my instincts and pay closer attention?
My scan of some major newspaper outlets seems to indicate a similar dilemma. The
Telegraph has overlapping space-tourism stories in its Science, Technology and, yes, Travel sections. In The Times it was Ben Clatworthy, ex-Assistant Travel Editor and now Transport Correspondent, who covered Virgin Galactic’s release of flight tickets. The New York Times recently ran a chunky, break-it-all-down piece under its Travel banner.
Space tourism is certainly not a natural fit in travel sections. This may have changed by
2072, but right now it’s mighty difficult (if not impossible) to envision, say, a 10 Best Blow-Out Holidays piece in The Daily Mail featuring gorilla-trekking in Rwanda, the Orient-Express, some private Caribbean islands and, oh, a suborbital spaceflight. One-off articles, as seen mentioned above, yes; but full amalgamation into travel sections? Not so much. And nor is this something I’d ever be likely to pitch, simply because it feels so far removed from my field of expertise.
For travel PR firms – at least those ones strict about only handling travel clients, based on their specialism and contact book – there’s a similar potential decision to be made. Putting aside the obvious excitement, is there any sense and scope in taking on a space-tourism client? Would the likes of Nick Trend, Tom Robbins or Hattie Sime actually be interested? Oh, and are fam trips available, please?
Eventually, once the industry is slightly more ‘normalised’ (as preposterous as that idea currently feels), I do believe that travel is space tourism’s natural editorial location. Simply because, at heart, these will be holidays – just of an entirely different, extra-terrestrial kind to that which we currently know.
What Richard thinks…
“While having much to do with personal circumstances, the sad closure of Wales’s longstanding Gliffaes stresses quite how challenging the UK hotel landscape currently is.”