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Astro Tourism is taking off Image: Potsiso Gordon from Pixabay
 
How experiential tourism is bringing sky lovers together

By Shivam Gupta, CEO & MD, Space Technology & Education Pvt. Ltd.
January 19, 2023: Over the last few years, travelers have grown more accustomed to 'exploring the new' and adventuring to places and experiences that have never been experienced before
These ‘never before undertaken’ experiences are driving the new trend in the tourism industry, of experiential tourism. Even though it isn't a particularly novel idea anymore, it nonetheless goes against the grain of conventional tourism wisdom.
With experiential tourism in place, immersive getaways are trending. Travelers who like an immersive experience make the most of their time by getting a true sense of the location rather than maximizing their efforts on sightseeing, touring historical sites, etc. This is making people ‘up’ their travel game by adding experiences to their bucket lists that re-energize them for their hectic busy life back home while also bringing them closer to nature. And besides, it is impossible to deny the appeal of the natural outdoors. Pristine landscapes, exotic species, and the purity of activities like camping all have a special allure that compels visitors to forego the comforts they might ordinarily expect on vacation.
Amidst all of this, people's fixation with the cosmos has served as a creative means of discovering new travel destinations in response to the growth of "immersive" tourism, bringing sky lovers from all over the world together. Bringing them together and connecting them with celestial bodies that are millions of kilometres away. Stargazing as a pastime is thus popularising, for it retains the grandeur in our minds, enhancing our sense of intellectual detachment and modest composure. Plus, the sensations of tranquillity under the sky have been known to stimulate better mental and physical health. Traveling with family and friends to remote locations for stargazing / astronomy is a rejuvenating experience for people that also helps to build new experiences.
Thus, a rising segment of our generation has taken up stargazing and astrophotography during the past few years, making night sky tourism popular among them. With the help of this new trend of Astro tourism, nature lovers can visit far-flung locales and enjoy stargazing beneath clear skies
The popularity is serving as a great educational opportunity for all sky enthusiasts while also ensuring that it is not merely about observations anymore and more about experiences. There has also been a shift in the way people communicate and relate to one another. The same is true for travel. To this end, the digital era and the ‘trendy big-time spender GenZ’ are increasingly acting as a major impetus that is paving way for this collaboration for a shared opportunity of Astro tourism.
Night sky tourism and celestial event observation initiatives including telescopic sky gazing and expert guidance are being popularised in parts of India as well. Of which, the pink city and northern states are prominent.
Astrotourism has been popular in the West, but it is now becoming more popular in India as a result of the establishment of Astro park in Benital, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, as well as the designation of night skies and sanctuaries in places like Hanle in Ladakh.|
Observatories, national parks, astrovillages, Astro trekking, astroports, and other similar concepts have sprung up in the tourism sphere that is letting people escape city chaos and add new events to their itineraries. Even in rural areas designated for astronomy tourism, visitors can enjoy the authentic rural Indian environment and all the excitement that comes with an adventure in a natural setting. The thrill of stargazing, sun observation, star parties, and practical science activities can also be included in this.
But, in order to have the best experience, some steps are to be taken in advance to ensure appropriate arrangements beforehand. Or, good service providers and emerging startups can be relied upon to enhance the overall immersive experience.
Conclusion
New experiences are helping shape new business concepts & when space tourism becomes mainstream, the tourism sector is likely to change forever. It will be in this moment where the task of stakeholders facilitating tourism will be challenged, requiring them to provide authentic one of its kind experiences to travelers. By personalizing tourism, they are now enabling people having common interests to come together. This new consumerism in the travel industry will continue to bring not only sky lovers but lovers of other niches together in the near future as well as in the long run.