The world’s first commercial spaceline targeting the tourism industry, Virgin Galactic, has picked Spaceport Sweden as its first operational base outside of the United States. The space launch centre is located in Kiruna, and hopes to become Europe’s hub for the burgeoning travel sector set to liftoff in the coming years.
Virgin Galactic also named the five travel companies that it would train to become “Accredited Space Agents” (ASAs). These agencies will be the only firms allowed to sell suborbital space flights with Virgin. The new ASAs are The Search in Malmo, Upplevelseakuten AB in Stockholm, Ice Hotel Travel in Jukkasjarvi, Area Travel Agency in Helsinki, and Hannibal & Marco Polo A/S in Aarhus.
Carolyn Wincer, Head of Astronaut Sales for Virgin Galactic, told the Swedish Space Corporation: “We were extremely impressed with the professionalism and innovation shown by travel agencies in the Scandinavian region. Travel agents play an important part in Virgin Galactic’s distribution process.”
Johanna Bergstrom-Roos, information manager of Spaceport Sweden, added “We have been looking forward to the announcement of Virgin’s winning ASAs. They will now become part of a truly unique and exciting new sector within both space and tourism. Spaceport Sweden will provide infrastructure, services and adventures for space tourism.”