Powered by Starscapes, travel curators can now include astro parties and stargazing as part of the holiday package.
Starscapes Experiences, the first Indian platform to deliver an integrated astronomy experience, is planning to tie up with travel curators, tour operators, hotels, and homestays to promote astrotourism in India.
In an interaction with TravelDine, Paul Savio, Co-founder, Starscapes Experiences, talks about the company’s roadmap and how astrotourism will emerge as one of the most sought-after segments in the country.
“The concept of space and astronomy has evolved over the years. It’s no longer geeky or classroom-like. It is not about students going on field trips to look at celestial objects through a telescope,” says Savio.
Thanks to disposable incomes, today, there is more interest in fields like space and astronomy, which were once fantasies for Gen X and Gen Y.
“Our outlooks have changed. So have the technologies. Cosmos and space are no longer about a geeky man in a suit sitting in a government space agency. It’s a lot cooler now. Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are working towards making space travel mainstream. NASA is sending astronauts to the Moon again. We will soon hear about the first woman to walk on the moon. We will hear more stories of spacewalks. Even ISRO is launching its next mission Gaganyaan next year to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit on board an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely. These stories will definitely pique people’s interest and draw them towards astronomy and astrotourism,” says Savio.
Savio adds that the sessions offered by Starscapes are unique and memorable.
“Our sessions are not those boring academic lectures, but lighthearted fireside chats where science and mythology are blended to narrate beautiful stories of stars and space. Even our star guides at Starscapes are enthusiastic, vibrant youngsters, dressed in T-shirts and jeans,” he says.
Starscapes currently has observatories in Jaipur, Kasauni, and Bhimtal and has plans to expand to 30 destinations in India by end of 2022.
The company also plans to integrate technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality to make the user experience immersive and interactive.
Starscapes is already working with local travel agents in Uttarakhand, where it set up its first astro village in Benital.
A similar model will be adopted to rope in more travel agents and travel curators across other states in India. The brand is also looking at tie-ups with hotels and resorts. In Karnataka, Starscapes has partnered with Club Mahindra Virajpet and Madikeri.
“India has a huge potential for astrotourism. Destinations like Kodaikanal, Ooty, Suratkal, Araku Valley, Lonavla, Coorg Mahabaleshwar, Darjeeling, Bhimapur, Kanhergad, Jaipur, Kutch, Spiti Valley, and Ladakh are the perfect spots for Astro enthusiasts. Astrotourism can be a part of any holiday package. It could be for incentive travellers or leisure travellers. It’s for the young and the old. It could be for anyone who is looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience,” says Savio.
The company recently launched mobile observatories in Puducherry and Goa. It will soon be launching similar observatories in Shimla and Ooty.