This travel trend will be aiming for the moon in 2019
“SHOOT for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” American minister and author Norman Vincent Peale once said.
And that is exactly what astrotourism intends to do in the coming year.
Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences, with early cultures identifying celestial objects with gods and spirits.
It is believed that the first astronomers were priests and that they understood these celestial objects and events to be manifestations of the divine. Ancient astronomers were able to differentiate between stars and planets.
Observations of the sun and the moon have been used to set the calendars of the world. And decades before technology, travelers on land and sea used the stars as a guide.
But these days, astronomy it is not just limited to astronomers, science, religion, and hippies alone. Neither is it limited to just watching the dramatic aurora borealis (Northern Lights) blaze and dance across the night sky in Norway.
In 2019, the astrotourism travel trend is expected to see an astronomical rise (pun intended).
For the uninitiated, astrotourism is where stargazing, meteor shower-loving, and eclipse-chasing travelers search for places where the sky is the darkest and clearest, such as clearings or remote campsites to connect with the cosmos.
This means avoiding light-polluted tourist hubs or urban areas – the further, the better.
Thanks to the advent of social media, Instagrammabiliy has become the most important factor millennials consider when planning a celestial getaway.
Coupled with astrotourism, undoubtedly the new cool, this means travelers will seek the most far-flung destinations to witness supermoons, shooting stars, or eclipses and scramble to post pictures of the phenomenon on Instagram.
That is if there is high-speed internet or 4G data where they are.
As a nod to this trend, Airbnb, which has nearly 3,000 homes listed on its platform offering telescopes, has rolled out experiences which offer year-round opportunities for astro-enthusiasts to appreciate our galaxy.
From dome stays in Australia to night treks on the South Korean island of Jeju, the experiences give travelers the chance to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of the sky.
The travel industry has also been quick to respond to astro-travelers, with companies like Earth & Sky offering various tours in New Zealand to Bouteco, which helps travelers find the best boutique eco hotels so they can stargaze or supermoon-gaze in style.
For those with a refined taste for luxury, multiple award-winning luxury tour operator Scott Dunn has specialists on hand to help astro-travelers create enchanting bespoke holidays.
To add on, Asia-Pacific’s ideal terrain, from the vast Gobi Desert which spans from China to Mongolia, to the majestic Himalayas which spreads across spread across Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, and Pakistan, makes for perfect destinations for astro-discoveries.
Astrotourism is set to take over luxury tours and trip operators, leaving tourists starstruck yet maintaining its position as a sustainable travel trend.
It will also bring economic benefits of tourism to the more remote and rural regions as it draws “darkness seekers” away from typical light-polluted tourist areas.