Economic Benefits of Space Tourism to Europe

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P. Collins (2007), JBIS, 60, 395-400

Refcode: 2007.60.395
Keywords: Space tourism, aerospace policy, EU unemployment, resource wars

The European aerospace industry has been very slow to consider the commercial opportunities in supplying passenger space travel services. This has been a costly mistake not just of space policy, but also of economic policy and environmental policy. This is because it is very unlikely that space tourism will remain just a small-scale activity of the very rich; it is much more likely to grow into a major new industry, employing millions of people in high quality employment - eventually much of it outside the Earth's eco-system. This is particularly important because, although the European “social-economic model” has greater popular support than the “USA model” (including among the general USA population), Europe today faces the major problem of high unemployment, which is imposing heavy social and economic costs. If Europe makes serious efforts soon to encourage the growth of passenger space travel, and of the many other economically and environmentally valuable space activities to which this will lead, then commercial space activities could become a major new axis of economic growth and employment-creation for Europe. Moreover, Europe has several advantages over the USA, Russia, Japan, China and India, and so could play a leading role in this field, if policy errors are corrected. The paper discusses the above possibilities, and the potential economic, environmental and other benefits for Europe in investing boldly in this fledgling industry.

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