Space Tourism - A Potential Invest Opportunity In Australia?

space tourism investment opportunity in growing Australia market share

Space is one of the fastest-growing and fiercely competitive sectors in the world, with players like Virgin Galatic and Space X ramping up research and development and pouring billions of dollars into new projects. And it makes sense - demand for space travel and innovation is at an all-time high, and with entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk promising to move to Mars to start new communities away from Earth, out-of-this-world concepts no longer seem so alien. 

Over the past ten years, there has been huge reinvention in the sector, with governments no longer in control of such projects. The space industry is advancing at levels we once never thought we’d see, and although there is still a long way to go, there are opportunities to be had right now for entrepreneurs with the right mindset and strategy, even if they don’t have the billions of dollars required to propel everyday citizens to nearby planets or solar systems! 

One country that you may not have expected to be part of the new space era is Australia, and the prospect of space tourism in the country has never been so interesting. Below, we take a closer look at the potential of space tourism down under, and share recommendations for businesses and entrepreneurs who are considering investing in the sector… 

Government Backing 

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Australia’s potential in the space age is its government backing, with leaders already setting out plans to triple the size of Australia’s nascent space industry to AU$10-$12 billion dollars per year by 2030. Indeed, officials argue that the growth of the country’s space industry would help to create around 10,000 to 20,000 high-level jobs and help the nation stand amongst some of the world’s key space innovators. 

Australia’s Expert Reference Group conducted a year-long review and report on the sector by spending time with leaders of the space community around the world, as well as Ministers and senior officers of relevant Government agencies to review the potential for the Australian space sector. Whilst its research is still ongoing, the report highlighted the huge potential for Australian nationals and businesses already operating in the sector - and, of course, the major potential for businesses who are outside of the sector but want to tap into the market. 

Australia’s new overarching plan is to triple the size of its space sector, spending more than AU$41 million over a four-year investment to build upon the work already carried out by the Australian Space Agency. As part of the country’s Federal Budget, the government will use AU$19.5 million to support projects designed to accelerate the country’s space sector, such as building a Mission Control Centre in South Australia, and ‘setting conditions for growth’. 

Indeed, the plan is centered around four key pillars - Australia wants to open its door to new international partners, develop its own national capability in areas of competitive advantage, ensure safety and national interest are addressed, and finally inspire and improve the lives of Australian citizens. Their ground-breaking commitment might raise eyebrows amongst some, but it’s important to remember that Australia has a booming economy and large middle class; therefore, high levels of disposable income are available for innovation and exploration. 

Queensland Is The New Hub 

For entrepreneurs considering starting a business in Australia, Queensland should be your focal point. Indeed, the government has suggested that it wants to make Australia the “epicenter of space tourism” and that officials from the likes of SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are working to transform Queensland’s airports into launchpads for space missions and projects. Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said that she was “investigating whether runways used by aircraft could be repurposed as space travel ports,” potentially saving hundreds of millions and speeding up innovation. 

Whilst Australia is not envisaging sending its citizens to space any time soon, it has laid out plans to conduct short space flights that last just a couple of minutes, but allow consumers to see some of the country’s most iconic sights from a new vantage point. This would no doubt be a major tourist attraction in the country, and so company formation in Australia should be considered a priority, whether you operate in space innovation or the hospitality industry and want to take advantage of the potential future opportunities that await in the country. 

According to a report from the Queensland Government in February 2019, “Queensland’s geographical, commercial and research strengths” allow them to “lead Australia’s exposure to the global space economy,” and that the region has “competitive advantages” when it is compared with other nations. It was disappointing that Queensland’s bid to become the new home for the Australian Space Agency was unsuccessful, but it’s interesting to note that the region has a thriving space startup ecosystem, with brands from around the world part of its startup sector. Gilmour Space Technologies, for example, recently unveiled the locally-built Ariel Class rocket, signaling another step towards Australia’s first commercial launch. In the coming years, such innovations will only continue and unlock potential for businesses in virtually every sector, not only those with expertise in the aerospace and spacecraft sectors. 

Get In On The Action 

For entrepreneurs excited about the future prospect of the Australian space tourism sector, it is advisable to act sooner rather than later. Indeed, taking too long to get started is one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when expanding internationally, and particularly in such a fast-paced sector, entering even a month too late could result in disaster. There is no denying that there is risk involved in incorporating a tourism-related business in a market where a tourist attraction is yet to exist, but starting off small and having a presence will give you the upper-hand when space juggernauts make their move on Australia’s Queensland. 

space tourism investment in australia virgin galactic Spacex Elon Musk

The Final Frontier Is Out Of This World

Around the world, the space industry is worth an eye-watering US$345 billion, mostly thanks to wealthy visionaries Elon Musk and Richard Branson up to this point. And whilst Australia’s share of that is just US$3.9 billion at present, the government aims to command a US$12 billion share of the market and accommodate 30,000 space-related employees by 2030. Those figures demonstrate Australia’s commitment to innovation and the commercial space sector that has been overlooked and shunned in some territories - even if the country never launches a mission of its own, at least its space sector will be out of this world!

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