Virgin Galactic has been signing up travel agents around the world to help it sell its suborbital spaceflights. So what’s in it for the travel agents, besides some publicity and a chance to be on the cutting edge of what could be an emerging market in the overall tourism industry? Money, as Australia’s The Daily Telegraph reports in a profile of “up-market travel agent” Penny Spencer:
In May this year she became the first agent outside America to sell a fully-paid $260,000 ticket.
“It’s a three-hour trip into space and paying up-front will ensure (the client) is among the first 100 space tourists,” she said.
It’s not a bad earner for Spencer, either.
In an industry that has largely done away with travel agents’ commissions, Virgin is making an exception for its space flights and is paying almost five per cent – that’s $13,000 for Spencer’s top line – though she insists it took quite a bit of organising.
Looking at the prices above (which are in Australian dollars), it appears they may need to recalibrate given the US dollar’s recent fall: A$260,000 is now nearly US$230,000, compared to the US$200,000 price that’s usually been associated with a Virgin Galactic flight.