By Staff writer
Richard Branson wants Virgin Galactic to look to the lunar surface for expansion
A recent report forecast that Abu Dhabi may struggle to cope with the glut of hotel rooms flooding onto the market this year, but the emirate appears to be looking further afield for new hotel opportunities – to the moon even – if Virgin boss Richard Branson is to be believed.
Branson has stated in the past that Virgin Galactic, the space tourism firm in which Abu Dhabi state-backed investment firm Aabar Investments acquired a 32 percent stake in three years ago, would soon offer holidays into space.
In one of his latest online postings, the Virgin boss has gone one further and stated he would like to see the Abu Dhabi-backed firm build the first hotel on the lunar surface of the moon.
“Took a photo of the moon above Necker to help decide where to put the Virgin Galactic hotel,” he said as he posted a snap from his private Caribbean island.
Earlier this year, Virgin Galactic received its 500th customer deposit for its first orbital flight, which at US$200,000 a ticket means it has potential future revenue of around US$100m.
In order to realise its goal to get tourists into space, Virgin Galactic is nearing completion of its first spaceport in New Mexico in the US and earlier this year announced it was planning a second base in Abu Dhabi.
While Branson this week said he was planning to invest his own millions in becoming the latest man to step foot on the moon, his hotel plans still appear to be at the drawing board stage.
To Branson: before you dream up lofty and grandiose ideas like hotels on the moon, why don't you try to actually launch your rocket into suborbital space, (a mere 62 miles,) some time this decade? I've been waiting since 2005, and you haven't delivered.
I think Abu Dhabi needs to think more local than Galactic...like infrastructure. The city lacks a Metro transport system, Residential buildings for its people to stay etc. Instead of planning hotels on the moon, it would be better to plan stable, non -igniting buildings on earth.