Passion of the People – 1.6.3

 The Development of Tourism Offers for Star Tourism

Tourism is a rapidly developing industry that is constantly developing services that could be offered to potential consumers. The quality of the experience has become a prerequisite to remain competitive in the tourism industry. Tourists are becoming more and more demanding in terms of experiences, so the offer is being upgraded accordingly.

With increasing public awareness of the effects of light pollution, star or astronomy tourism has begun to develop and is a potential attraction for visitors to destination areas where dark skies can be enjoyed without artificial light. This presents an opportunity for locations that offer stargazing, such as astronomical observatories, amateur astronomy organizations that offer public programs, or national/local parks.

The roots of astronomical tourism go back many centuries in widespread localities, whose purpose was related to agriculture and other traditional practices, such as Stonehenge, Nabta Playa, Chichen Itza and in the United States of America for example Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon and others. Break with those times, today’s star tourism involves traveling to the park and enjoying the beauty of the sky. Star tourism is offered in many ways: sun gazing, multimedia presentations in the evening, night sky viewing and full moon walks. It is an added value for the existing tourist offer in destinations where the conditions for such an upgrade of the tourist offer are possible.

Star or astrotourism experiences today can fall into various groups of offers and travel packages including:

1. Observations of the sky in observatories: astronomical observations supplemented by tourist services and usually involve the use of a telescope.

2. Outdoor observation excursions: travel to dark places (by car, on foot, on horseback, etc.) to observe the sky with the naked eye or with binoculars or a telescope.

3. Tours of scientific facilities: refers to visits to scientific observatories, those with advanced technologies, as well as those with a more historical character. They usually cover the use of telescopes and the space where astronomers work.

4. Accommodation and astronomical observations: this refers to hotel services that include activities and possibly decorations related to astronomy.

5. Solar observations: conducted during the day, they involve observing the Sun using solar telescopes or specially adapted telescopes (i.e. with special filters).

6. Astrophotography: this includes everything from renting specially equipped telescopes to beginner and advanced level workshops on celestial photography.

7. Lectures and courses: presentations on astronomical topics, given by guides, astronomers or other experts, along with astronomical observations.

8. Tours of astronomical exhibitions: visits to museum exhibitions or outdoor exhibitions (astronomical parks) centered on the theme of the cosmos and/or the way of its study.

9. Audiovisual presentations: these consist of shows projected on planetariums – fixed or portable – and videos and digital presentations made by guides or individuals with knowledge of astronomy.

These are just a few examples of star-related tourist offers. Of course, in this type of tourist offer, it is possible to combine different types of tourist products, thus preparing tourist packages that include other tourist offers (gastronomy, trekking, etc.)

Sky Observatory – Image by Jerzy GóreckiPixabay
Telescope – Image by JustinitePixabay
Observing the stars – Image by Antonio LópezPixabay
Aurora Borealis – Image by StockSnapPixabay
Night camping for stargazing – Image by bhossfeldPixabay

Further resources

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Travel Trends 2019: Astrotourism – Stargazing Tourism

Astro-tourism and stargazing in the clear skies of Western Australia

Feeling the Universe – Astronomy Ireland

Astrotourism in Chile

Astrotourism and Dark Skies

Astro Turismo Stelle Cadenti – Claudio Ricci Italia Turismo

Online Resources

 Manual for Astrotourism

Why astrotourism is the new travel trend

Astrotourism Workshop

Theming in Astrotourism

Astrotourism in India

Il fascino dell’osservazione solare –

Astrofotografia: introduzione alla fotografia astronomica – Primaluce Lab

Astrofotografia, Guida base per la fotografia del cielo stellato – Passione Astronomia

Further Readings

A Guide to Astrotourism

What is Astrotourism?

The Rise of Astrotourism Could Potentially Be Its Downfall

Best Places and Experience for Stargazing

Osservare il sole – U.A.I.

Teaching Materials

 Astrotourism in Andalusia

Starlight Tourism

World’s first starlight tourism destination

Manual for Astrotourism

Real World Studies

Corsi e Conferenze – Osservatorio Astronomico Copernico

For Kids

A Kid’s Guide to Stargazing

Astronomy and Space for Children

Stargazing for Kids

The Beginners Guide to Astronomy

Star Facts for Kids