Tourism nowadays is no longer just about exploring new horizons on the Earth's surface. The latest frontiers to be explored were brought into focus in Marbella on Monday and Tuesday as Les Roches hospitality school hosted the first ever Space & Underwater Tourism universal Summit (SUTUS).
The two-day event welcomed an array of distinguished speakers including Sam Scimemi, director of the International Space Station (ISS) at the NASA headquarters; Tony Gannon, vice-president of Investigation and Innovation at Space Florida; Ana Bru, the first Spanish woman who will go to space on the Virgin Galactic; and Scott Waters, leader of the Pisces VI Submarine project.
The aim of the summit was to share knowledge and to open up business opportunites in what are the next major challenges for luxury tourism: space and the sea.
In his opening speech, Scimemi outlined the cost of a trip to space: 80 million dollars, plus 35,000 dollars a night at the ISS. He said that space travel was possible despite the low availability but conceded that the eight private astronauts so far all had one thing in common: "They were very rich."
Something a bit more attainable for ordinary budgets could soon be underwater exploration.
Javier Noriega, president of the Andalusian Maritime Cluster, said in his speech that he believed that this could soon come to the Costa del Sol. "We live right on the sea. Beneath the surface there is such a variety of flora and fauna."