Dubai: Space tourism pioneer Virgin Galactic is planning to expand its presence in the Middle East, a statement said.
The world has seen fewer than 500 astronauts, but with the launch of Virgin Galactic spaceflights that will soon change. Virgin Galactic has already sold more than 200 tickets globally which equates to more than $30 million in deposits, representing more than $45 million in future income.
Coinciding with the Arabian Travel Market, the region’s travel agencies are encouraged to register their interest in selling space travel with the Virgin Galactic Accredited Space Office in Dubai.
Registration should include an initial proposal outlining credentials, client base/profile, location, network and most importantly why they feel their company has what it takes to sell space travel in their local market.
“Travel agents play an integral role in the Virgin Galactic distribution process. We want to create a network of agents in the Middle East who are knowledgeable, well-informed and know how to deliver the highest levels of service when selling unique travel experiences,” said Carolyn Wincer, Head of Astronaut Sales, Virgin Galactic.
At $200,000 per ticket, Virgin Galactic’s flights are a mere fraction of the $20 million price tag associated with other commercial space tourism providers.
The first test flights will take place this summer and the first commercial flights are likely at end of 2009. Virgin Galactic will own and operate privately built spaceships, modelled on the historic SpaceShipOne craft. These spaceships will allow affordable sub-orbital space tourism for the first time in mankind’s history.