Space and underwater tourism – impossible holiday destinations?
By Mike James
Are you getting a bit jaded with your usual holiday destinations? Looking for new, exciting places to explore and novel environment in which to relax? When you’ve been everywhere and done everything humanly possible on Earth, there are only two places left to go – up or down.
You may well raise a sceptical eyebrow at this point, but commercial space tourism and underwater tourism aren’t as far-fetched as you may think. Rapid developments in science and technology continue to take place to push the boundaries of what’s possible, though they only tell half the story.
At the heart of it all is surely man’s unstoppable quest for knowledge, a never ending curiosity to understand the world around us, which drives scientific advancement – and especially if there’s a commercial opportunity to be exploited too.
So, what is possible? Can you actually book a vacation in an underwater hotel? What about space travel – when will we able to holiday on the Moon?
Whether you’re a snorkeling novice or professional marine biologist, life under the sea holds a huge attraction for many people. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to spend some time at below-sea level and enjoy the beauty and silence of the aquatic world? Underwater tourism is being hailed as the next big thing.
But wait, it’s already here.
Ask your travel operator or holiday company about popular underwater attractions, restaurants, tours and even hotels that will take your breath away, including these water wonderland experiences that can actually be booked:
Restaurants Exclusive underwater restaurants are growing in popularity, particularly in luxury resorts in Dubai and the Maldives. Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, was opened as long ago as 2005; it serves gourmet cuisine while you have a 180 degree panoramic view of the ocean and all its inhabitants above you.
Spas The Indian Ocean around the Maldives is also the site of the first underwater health spa, complete with panoramic reef views for indulgent couples’ treatments. Nearby is another world first, Subsix, a luxury bar and nightclub situated 20 feet below sea level and only accessible by boat. The unique club features full height windows to the ocean floor beyond.
Cruises No doubt you’ve been on a Caribbean cruise – but under water? Submarine cruises will let you explore the waters and sealife around Barbados and St Lucia and even as far as Hawaii.
There are luxury submarine ‘yachts’ offering overnight accommodation for couples – what could be more romantic that spending a night sleeping with the fishes?
Hotels If you want to experience the peace and tranquillity of below-sea-level accommodation in a hotel, look no further than Sweden where you can book an underwater room in a lake, or Zanzibar where you can find a three-level hotel room submerged 4 metres under the sea.
Several hugely ambitious projects to open undersea hotels are currently in the pipeline. They include the Water Discus hotel in Dubai comprising 21 luxury suites, and Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel’s plans for 12 aqua pods. The Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji promises 25 suites, an underwater restaurant and bar, a conference room, library, spa and wedding chapel!
Space – the final frontier
The prospect of commercial space travel has been generating a great deal of interest in recent times, with several major players throwing their hats into the ring and declaring their intentions.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is promising commercial space travel to the Moon in the not too distant future, inviting those interested in becoming Future Astronauts to reserve a space now.
Similarly, Moon Express’ scheduled 2017 lunar mission has been approved by the US government and is seen as a ‘pathfinder for private sector commercial missions beyond the Earth’s orbit,’ according to CEO Bob Richards. Then there’s Space X, Elon Musk’s foray into commercial space travel and exploration to the Moon and to Mars.
Space tourism company Space Adventures is going one giant step further. Their website states that they have ‘curated a suite of private spaceflight experiences to suit all interest levels and budgets’ that were selected ‘because they are available for regular private citizens to enjoy, and demonstrate that space is no longer the domain of just the professional astronauts’.
While none of the above ventures are likely to be commercially viable – never mind mainstream affordable – in our lifetimes, the future of space tourism is looking increasingly promising. Watch this space.
Mike James is a freelance writer from London. He works for UK experience day gift voucher specialist Into the Blue.