24 September 2006

Space tourists are nothing to do with tourism

I'm beginning to get irritated with the coverage of 'Space Tourist' stories in the travel press, both online and off.

I lay the blame at the door of journalists and computers

Computers are still too stupid to realise that a handful of wealthy individuals buying a ride on a space rocket has nothing to do with the tourist industry, even if a journalist has refered to them as "space tourists".

Newsfeed aggregators just look for keywords, so you often see misplaced headlines appearing in the wrong category. (A classic example was Moreover running an item about models slipping off the runway in their aviation industry category. The models were the Gucci/Prada/YSL sort and for some reason the journalist had described a catwalk as a 'runway'.)


I think journalists get confused about this kind of story because the 'space tourist' concept is somehow reinforced by Richard Branson being involved. (Despite all his music, radio, finance and other Virgin businesses, Branson is inextricably identified with travel because he runs the airline and rail company.)

Until a choice of destinations is available - a space station, the Moon, Mars, etc - people who pay to go into space are simply "passengers" on a ride.


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