09 Oct

One in three of us want to take the ultimate trip – to outer space!

ABTA research reveals the public’s views on space travel during World Space Week

As celebrations and events around the world mark United Nations World Space Week, 4-10 October, research¹ from ABTA released today reveals that one in three of us would love to take a trip to the stars. 30% of the public in ABTA’s survey stated that they would love to travel into space given the chance and another 20% would be prepared to give it a go once travel into space has been test driven.

The younger generation are much keener on taking an inter-planetary trip with 43% saying they would love to travel into space, which climbs to 73% once it has been test driven. 38% of men say they would love to travel into space climbing to 60% once it has been test driven, but only 23% of women are keen, climbing to just 41% once it has been test driven. Interest wanes drastically with age with 69% of 55-64 year olds and 73% of 65+s saying they have no interest.

For many years achieving this ambition was totally impossible. But in 2001 it moved from being impossible to just being eye wateringly expensive, as Dennis Tito, earth’s first space tourist, blasted off to the International Space Station, having paid $20m for the privilege. So far only six others have followed his example but more “affordable” options are becoming available.

Virgin Galactic is far down the road of being able to offer trips into space for a mere $250,000 with reports suggesting their first flight will be in early 2014. Celebrities including Justin Bieber, Brangelina and Michael Schumacher are reportedly amongst the high rollers who’ve signed up for a flight. And a Dutch company² is looking for volunteers for the ultimate trip - manning a space station on Mars whilst being filmed for a reality TV show, a kind of extra-terrestrial Big Brother. The only drawback being the journey is so expensive they’re only offering a one-way ticket!

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.”

¹Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2008 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to September 2012. Fieldwork was conducted in September 2012.