Winter at Tantora

The Rise of Astrotourism

by Allie Moore

Jan 3, 2019

Stars © Denis Belitskiy | Dreamstime

Trends / Top Trends

For avid and accomplished travelers, traversing the seven continents and four oceans can reach a point of saturation, so instead of “far and wide,” explorers look upward for their next adventure. With affordable space travel still light years away, the astronomically curious are embarking on a new trend in travel: astrotourism.

 

Because well over half the world suffers from light pollution by way of artificial lighting that monopolizes the night sky, city and country dwellers alike seek ways to marvel in the dark night sky and gaze at the wonders that exist beyond borders, like constellations, eclipses and phenomena, such as Aurora Borealis.

 

Back in 2001, the International Dark-Sky Association announced they would reward destinations making an effort to protect their skies from light pollution through other lighting technologies or by conserving their lighting sources. As such, “dark-sky parks” started sprouting up across the country in places like Natural Bridges, Utah; the Grand Canyon (which holds a star party every June); and Flagstaff, Arizona (an entirely dark city). Other such parks exist in the Yaeyama Islands of Japan and England’s Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park.

 

Travelers can also opt to visit observatories to combine the skygazing element with celestial education; join a stargazing tour that offers guided sightseeing; or book a room at a designated stargazing accommodation, like a remote yurt or Elqui Domos Hotel in Chile, where the rooms are equipped with telescopes.

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