For China’s wealthy, the sky might not be the limit. In fact, luxury travel has expanded to galactic proportions.
While space tourism in China remains a largely unregulated and highly undeveloped market, the rise of travel beyond your typical car, train, and plane, is becoming very real. The Dutch-operated Space Expedition Corp. is currently tapping into the new phenomenon by offering space packages online.
Applications for the company’s trips were posted on June 12th, and China Daily reports that they cost between 599,999 to 1.39 million yuan (roughly US$96,650 to US$223,905).
Du Xiyong, a travel agent with Dexo Travel, and the only Chinese broker currently booking trips for the Space Expedition Corp., says regardless of the market’s age, sales are beginning to take off.
“In fact, 36 people have finished the procedures, including physical examination, and paid the deposit, and are ready for the training for the space voyage,” he said.
Each voyage includes suborbital flight between 61-103 km, and those who purchases the priciest trips will get to experience five to six minutes of weightlessness and take in some starry views.
Zhang Lingxiao, a travel manager with Taobao, said that as the luxury space industry gains momentum, they will also look into offering simulated travel experiences.
In the meantime, many travel agents and experts in the tourism industry are urging officials to set clear regulations.Though no trips have been completed yet—they are expected to begin by the end of 2015— some are worried about possible safety complications.
Wang Yanyong, the director of the Tourism Development and Planning Research Center of Beijing Jiaotong University, says that the industry is in need of some order. “There has been no official regulation nor rules in space tourism in China, making the market chaotic, and more problems will be exposed in the future as more people book the trip.”
image credit: spacexc.com