Passion of the People – 1.6.1

Trying a Definition: Star Tourism, Astrotourism, Dark Sky Tourism

Star tourism, astrotourism, dark sky tourism? All of them refer to travel or tourism-related activities centered around observing, viewing, and experiencing celestial objects and phenomena, such as stars, constellations, galaxies, eclipses, meteor showers, and more. This type of tourism often involves traveling to remote or dark sky locations with minimal light pollution for optimal stargazing experiences.

This type of tourism is still a niche in the tourism business, which is also indicated by the fact that no clear naming convention has yet been established. Star tourism, astrotourism and dark sky tourism are equally used for the same tourism products and services. There is not even an understanding on a spelling of the English name: Astrotourism? Astro tourism? Astro-tourism? The number of providers for this type of tourism is comparatively small, which is of course a great competitive advantage at the moment: anyone who positions themselves well in this sector now with exciting offers can certainly expect to be successful in this business segment.

A successful product in this niche might be linked with other tourism sectors, e.g. with nature tourism, cultural tourism, and health tourism, to name a few. Star tourism is certainly also tourism that highlights the strengths of rural regions, it is sustainably oriented and can generate unique experiences. These are all plus points that meet current travel trends for closeness to nature, conscious sustainable travel, and the search for authentic experiences.

Astrotourism has a core quality of tranquillity and suitably fits with landscapes in National Parks and areas of natural beauty which have or are seeking star park or reserve status. Astrotourism can influence positively socio-economic and labour market effects in regions that suffer from brain drain and the resulting social and economic destabilisation that it brings.

Dark nebula – Image by WikiImagesPixabay
Galaxy – Image by Lumina ObscuraPixabay
Milky Way – Image by KanenoriPixabay
Universe – Image by Gerd AltmannPixabay

Further resources

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Dark Sky Tourism in Northumberland and Around the World – Valerie Stimac – Astro Ventures

Dark Skies – Visit Scotland

World’s Best Stargazing Sites – MojoTravels

Online Resources

Dark Sky Ecotourism

Terrestrial Astrotourism – Motivation and Satisfaction of Travelling to Watch the Night Sky – Ana Luísa Matos

Handbook of Good Practices before the Covid19: A handbook for the professionals of the Astrotourism

Example of marketing stargazing and preparing tourism packages for astrotourism – Get Your Guide

Il primo “Starlight Stellar Park” italiano – COELVM Astronomia

Turismo astronomico: i posti migliori per vedere le stelle in Italia – Travel365


Night Light Interreg Europe

Astroturismo, 5 posti magici dove ammirare le stelle – Rita Bossi, ICON

Further Readings

IL TURISMO ASTRONOMICO Un’opportunità per le aree rurali – Clarissa Cavezzale, ACADEMIA

Teaching Materials

A Design Manual For Astro-tourism Experiences

Training Course for Astronomic Starlight Guides – Interreg Europe

Online training course – The Aotearoa Astrotourism Academy

AAA Course – Dark Skies and Society

Sustainable Tourism, Social and Institutional Innovation: The Paradox of Dark Sky in Astrotourism

For Kids