Innovation is an incessant aspect in the tourism sector and despite the current pandemic situation they are numerous companies that have opted to offer experiences beyond land borders or under the sea, like flying to the edge of space in a balloon or planting lettuce on the moon, and although they are largely aimed at a high-net-worth audience the accessibility to space or underwater tourism takes shape in Marbella.
The city has hosted this Wednesday the inauguration of Sutus 2021, the only congress of space and underwater tourism that is carried out in the world and that has had the participation of professionals from 43 countries at the Les Roches Marbella High School for Hotel Management.
A) Yes, grow lettuce, tomatoes or radishes on the moon, climb to the edge of space in a helium balloon or dive to a depth of 2,000 meters in the ocean are some of the initiatives that have been announced at the Marbella congress, where institutional support has not been lacking.
“We are in the largest and most important space and underwater tourism event, where we have had the best agencies in the world such as NASA, the European Space Agency or the China Agency and also international projects ”from both branches, said the director of Les Roches Marbella, Carlos Díez de la Lastra, who stressed that “It is the place where it is putting in common the projects that will transform those borders that are about to conquer tourism, as it is the one that is above our heads and below our feet ”.
José Mariano López is a Granada-born who is promoting the travel to the edge of space in capsules elevated through a helium balloon, with 4 passengers and two pilots through the company ‘Zero 2 infinity’, based in Barcelona. The project began to germinate in the 30s of the last century by Emilio Herrera from Granada. “Spain is one of the best places to fly to the edge of space in a balloon and in the Second Republic I had already planned to do it, but it stopped with the Civil War with a very big chronological stoppage and I am trying to recover it ”, he said.
He has been with the project for 12 years and the next one hopes to “make the leap” to take people with “manned flights“With a technology that has ensured that it exists” for 100 years “, but not financing. The initiative consists of “ride people where the sky is black in helium balloon“, Which is” a noble gas that does not pollute and has no environmental impact. “
On demand for space tourism has pointed out that there is “a very strong latent demand in people who have the means” for this, so his company works in reduce costs and “we have reserves of 110,000 euros per person the passage”.
José María Ortega is a young Malaga engineer who wants take agriculture to the moon. Coordinator of the company ‘Green moon project’, he leads an initiative that was born in September 2016 in which “we are combining planetary geology, plant biology and space engineering and technology to understand how the cultivation will be under the effects and conditions of lunar gravity“, Which has clarified that” it is smaller than the terrestrial one. “
“It’s very important understand how the crop will be under these conditions before we go to the moon and start with the first human settlements, which are not only going to be for astronauts, but also for the future space tourism to come”, Explained the expert.
For the financing of the project “we are trying to unite both the public and the private part to understand how this crop is going to be because this will be very important before we go there”, said Ortega, who has highlighted that “Agriculture is the basis of everything and we have to take it to space, we have to climb it to start thinking about all those settlements on the moon. “
The engineer has stated that it is possible to cultivate on the moon, basing its arguments on the experience recorded in the Timanfaya National Park (Lanzarote), where it has ensured that “the regolith – a layer of unconsolidated materials – that we have on the moon or on Mars is very similar ”to that of the Canary Island. In this there is “volcanic soil” with vine crops.
The in-depth tourist experiences They have also been protagonists in the congress, where the project of Scott Waters, president of the American company ‘Pisces VI’, which has moved its base to the Canary Islands, where it operates with “Submarines that are specialized in volcanic and hypothermic activitiess “,” they reach a depth of 2,000 meters and it has capacity for a pilot and two passengers ”.
The businessman explained that “our main goal is science and sometime we have an intermediate time is when we offer the tourist experience ”, with a client profile that is characterized by being“ very adventurous people who want to go to places that no one has ever seen ”. The price of the experience starts from 2,000 euros.
Héctor Salvador is the director of operations of ‘Submarinos Tritón’, dedicated to the manufacture of “Private submersibles” and that he has drawn a line from “tourist submarines in which you can get off from 24 to 66 people in a completely transparent pressure hull at depths of up to 100 meters ”.
The first model “is already operational in Southeast Asia” and after a year marked by restrictions due to Covid-19, it has ensured that the sector “is gaining momentum again”, therefore, he hopes that “more and more resorts and coastal towns” will bet on this type of experience to get to know the marine environment. Regarding the cost of the excursions, he has detailed that “research submersibles or exclusive 2 or 3-seater submersibles continue to have a fairly high price, reserved for people with high purchasing power, but tourist submersibles, by putting more people per immersion, allow us lower the price of the ticket to about 50 euros for an hour ”.