U.S. and Italian researchers predict outer space will become a frequent tourist destination during this century.
"In the 21st century, space tourism could represent the most significant development experienced by the tourism industry," said University of Delaware Professor Fred DeMicco.
DeMicco, along with Professor Silvia Ciccarelli of the University of Rome -- a consultant to the Italian Association of Aerospace Industries -- said while there are global policies to be determined relating to private ventures in space, the technology to make space travel safer and cheaper is moving forward.
Ciccarelli said suborbital trips will likely be available to tourists by 2015, while tourism in space hotels is predicted to become a reality by 2025. She also noted the low-gravity of space will make possible novel recreational and sports activities that are impossible on Earth.
The study is to appear in the journal Hospitality Educator.