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Space Tourism: Travel for all or discriminating the lower class

Space Tourism: Travel for all or discriminating the lower class
Author: Susan Jesse
3 Commentries
Transportation plays a large role in the tourism sector as it allows the tourist to travel to their destination. Over the years transport has developed meaning that tourists are able to get to their destination more quickly, safely and in comfort (Faulkner et al 2001) however does social class play a part in what transports different social classes use.
Rail was the first transport that allowed tourists to travel to the seaside in their own country. When rail transport first started it was marketed to the lower social classes as it was affordable for them. This was first time lower social classes could travel to the coast at a lower price as transport before such as cars were only for the high social classes (Weaver and Lawton 2006). Rails transport has since developed with the Euro star taking people from London to Paris in a couple of hours this was due to the development of high speed trains enabling people to get to their destinations quickly this was to compete with the development to aircrafts. This also meant that trains lost custom so decided to market a new target the high social class with overnight stays or day trips on luxury train travelling through Europe or Asia (orient Express).
After land based transport water based transport played a major part in the transport and tourism industry as it allowed tourists to travel to different parts of the world. As trips to America or Australia could take a few weeks to reach the destinaions the ships had to be come to high standards. Cruise ships were separated into first, second and third classes with third and second not being able to enter the first class facilities (Faulkner et al 2001). Cruises were also affected with the development of aircrafts the cruise industry also lost custom, so developed cruise holiday that enabled tourist to have their main holiday instead of taking them to a destination, tourist can now visit many different destinations in the space on two weeks however the prices of cruise holidays are expensive and require a certain dress code that appeals more to the higher classes and meant that people of the lower classes may not afford a cruise holiday. In 2005 the founders of EasyJet operated the first low budget cruise this allowed people of a lower class to experience the same as people in the higher classes (EasyCruise).
When air transport was developed it affected both rail and water based transport as aircrafts was the quickest form of transport so become the most popular transportation that tourists used. Previously air travel was only affordable for the high social classes however development in air travel have meant price have decreased but comfort and safety have been improved also so the introduction to low budget airlines making it available for people in the lower classes to travel to destinations for a low price. (Cooper at al 2008). Low budget have grown as businesses noticed a market, there are now many different low budget airlines competing for the lowest prices giving tourists in the lower social classes more of a choice however the destination that low budget airlines tend to travel to European destinations with none travelling to far away destinations such as America or Australia (weaver and Lawton 2006). This could mean that it is too expensive for people in the lower social class to visit and is marketed more for the higher social class however Ryan Air has accounted plans to operate a low budget fights over to America for as little as £10 this would be the first of its kind with more than likely over low budget airlines following Ryan Air (Telegraph 2010).
The newest development in tourism is space travel which allows people to spend the day in space. Although still in development stage there has already been test runs of the space ship that will be used to carry the first tourists into space, the reusable space ship which is currently undergoing safety checks should soon be ready for commercial use. The coat to travel into space is $200,000 per person. Virgin Galactic the main stakeholder in space tourism want to attract VIP's which could explain the high tag meaning that they want to attract the higher social classes. Virgin Galactic is hoping to take 50,000 tourists into space in the first 10 years (Virgin Galactic 2010). There are also developments of space hotels being built around the earth's orbit so tourists could have overnight stays in space with academic say could cost millions of pounds (Faulkner et al 2001).
Space travel could be compare with air and cruises that were firstly marketed to the higher social classes as they were the social group that could afford to travel by them however over time the prices decreased which made it easier for people in the lower social classes be able to afford them but then there was the development of low budget airlines and cruise ships that enables lower social classes to have a similar experience as the higher classes. This could be the same as space travel when there is more development in the sector the price could drop and also low budget companies could develop a low budget space travel.

(Anon) (No date) EasyCruise [Online] [cited 20th April 2010] assessed on < www.easycruise.com/pAbouteCL.aspx>
(Anon) (No date) Orient Express [Online] [Cited 21st April 2010] assessed on< http://www.orient-express.com/explore/explore.jsp>
(Anon) (No date) Telegraph [Online] [Cited 21st April 2010] assessed on < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/3373190/Ryanair-reveals-cut-price-transatlantic-plans.html>
(Anon) (No date) Virgin Galactic [Online] [Cited 21st April 2010] assessed on < http://www.virgingalactic.com/overview/>
Faulkner, B. Moscardo, G. And Laws, E. (2001) Tourism in the 21st century: lessons from experience: London, Continuum.
It's a Small Universe
Author: Nikolay Alamanov
Relevant sources have been used for the creation of this paper. The informative approach shows evidence of reading. On the other hand, I am very interested in anything that has something to do with NASA, space research or space travel and that is why I was slightly disappointed to see the unevenness in the structure of your answer. The idea to start with land transport and link it to air transport and then move on to space transport was good but the space tourism bit of your work was restricted to one paragraph only. However, your final point caught my eye - claiming that just like most forms of transport, space transport will be a privilege for the rich only for a limited period of time was an interesting observation. I personally would not say that space tourism discriminates the lower classes, perhaps it excludes them temporarily. The expenses for such a trip are enormous and it is quite logical that, at least for now, providers like Virgin Galactic target the rich costumer.

I find it very hard to relate your work to mine since they have little in common. One point I have made comes to my mind though - the German professor Ulrich Beck claims that unless people start respecting the different the cosmopolitan model that is being shaped by the modern progress will stay unachieved. Do you think that this intolerance towards the different would result in a future division in space travel, i.e. shuttles for rich people would be more secure and going to better parts of the Solar System, while poor adventurers would not be able to afford such comfort and would fly on old aircraft to planets like Venus, which atmosphere consists of poisonous gases, driven by the sheer desire to explore; or in other words - do you think that people will start respecting the dignity of difference or they will become more distant and will never reach the cosmopolitan ideal Ulrich Beck describes? That is just a thought. :)
'It opens up the space experience to ordinary people around the world' - Richard Branson
Author: Chris Hobson
As a person who would consider sub orbital flight if it was ascertainable within his own wage bracket and lifetime, I chose to remark upon this submission to the conference. In addition after deliberating the commentaries heading, a citation from Mr Branson I find his declaration to be quite pretentious, what does he imply by ordinary? To begin with, your work commences aptly with a well structured chronology of technological advances within the transport sector and loosely relates this to how this may affect space tourism. However the overall response to the research question is structurally imbalanced and is top heavy, and deficient of material concerning the actual domain studied i.e. space tourism. I would have preferred to see more in the way of the research regarding people's motives for space tourism or the exact costing for Bert Rutan's spaceship two. To expose whether the prices are set discriminatorily higher or could the prices in theory have been set cheaper.

You make one pertinent observation in that initially plane tickets were for the well off, now one may buy a ticket for relatively cheap hence making air travel universally attainable (in theory). I utterly agree with the reduction trajectories you highlight as they are very much observable within the transport pricing strategies of modern times.

Nevertheless perhaps it is not prejudicial, rather unavoidable that the provision for space tourism is ephemerally geared towards more financially capable consumers. Primarily because of business viability reasons to offset the logistical challenges and the high fixed and variable overheads associated with space transportation. For instance Virgin Galactic's business model prognosticates it needs to vend thousands of space trips merely to break even, hence i suggest Virgin's development may be indicative of a step in the right direction in liberalising space tourism.

On the other hand perhaps your argument of discriminating the lower social groupings has pertinence. Sociologically imminent commercial space travel could well be a technique for the higher stratums of society differentiating themselves from the lower classes, comparable to the emergence of 7 star hotels. Virgin galactic may have exploited this market by promoting and pricing ($200,000) their trips to such clientele. As nowadays a greater amount of people can afford to take residence in a 5star hotel, thus luxury travellers crave more discernibly elite attributes.

Sadly no in depth reasoning was provided as per how such travel expenses can be compressed, to make space travel a more cost efficient business proposition. I would argue it is ultimately down to the private sector's willingness to facilitate such a transformation. Through increasing the number of competitors within the marketplace and utilising the technological advances within the macro-environment. To provide a more cost effective means of space tourism accessible to a greater number. To recapitulate my paramount point, the ever swelling and emergent aspirational lower classes could hypothetically experience space travel just not for the foreseeable future. Even so, as I indicated at the commencement of this commentary I would be fond of travelling in space and as a category E consumer do I feel discriminated against…certainly.

Space Tourism: travel for all?
Author: Sara White
Space Tourism: travel for all?

Overall this is a very strong piece of work. It uses a range of references and is a very informative piece of work. The paper also fits in very well with the strand, pride and prejudice, as the focus is very clearly about social class.
There is evidence of independent reading as there are several references used in the summary.
The study relates very closely with my own as a strong focus is placed on social class. Several references were even the same! The piece of work also relates the cruises; it could be said that cruises are solely for the elite; however, I disagree with this. Findings in my own study spoke of accessibility to different types of travel and found that cruises are not a lot more accessible than before. Ocean Village (Ocean village holidays, 2009) have promotional offers that help to encourage custom to their cruises. By having offers such as this it means that cruises are becoming more accessible to the lower classes. And that people can budget for cruises more easily than before.
A point that could have been made throughout the discussion is the benefits of all the different types of travel. For example a benefit of cruises is that they are often all inclusive; meaning that once on a cruise there are not a lot of additional expenses (Article base, 2008). The benefits of flying are that it is a lot quicker than previous types of travel, and the customer can choose the level of customer service that they want. They can chose low cost budget airlines such as Easy Jet or Ryan Air; or choose to fly first class with companies such as Virgin Atlantic.
A criticism that can be made about the paper however is that it could have been more analytical and criticised theories. Although this may have been in the seminar paper and not the summary.
In conclusion the paper manages to keep a lot of key points; it is concise and very easy for the reader to gain knowledge from the paper. The paper draws conclusions about Space travel, and answers the title of the paper well. Having written a paper on a similar topic it seems that it will be available for the higher classes first; but like air and water based travel it will become safer, more reliable and cheaper for the customers. That said, while I think the structure was good, I also think that it was a shame that the space travel section was rather limited. Although however on the other hand there isn't a huge amount of material available about space travel as it is very new.

Article Base (2008) Benefits of Travelling by cruise [Online] [Accessed 22nd April 2010] Available at < http://www.articlesbase.com/vacation-rentals-articles/benefits-of-traveling-by-cruise-552538.html >

Ocean Village (2009) About Ocean Village holidays [Online] [Accessed 22nd April 2010] Available at < http://www.oceanvillageholidays.co.uk/content.aspx?id=2516>