Space Tourism Forum Porvoo brought together experts in the field
Haaga-Helia's The Space Tourism Forum Porvoo brought together more than eighty people interested in space tourism from all over the world. The first space flights for tourists are expected to start in the next few years.
In November, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences organised a virtual event on space tourism, which caught interest all around the world.
The event, originally scheduled for May, showcased that the people are really interested in the latest megatrends in space tourism as well as research in the field.
The Space Tourism Forum Porvoo was supposed to be already earlier this year, but the legislation following the global corona pandemic made it impossible to organise.
The keynote speakers were Ms Annette Toivonen, a tourism lecturer at Haaga-Helia, and Mr Mikko Dufva, a future expert at Sitra, both well-known and respected in their own fields of expertise.
A panel discussion was also held at the event. The panel was attended by Mr Pekka Janhunen, a space physicist and research manager at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Ms Maija Lönnqvist, Chief Space Policy Specialist at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and Ms Toivonen, who also acted as a keynote speaker.
It was moderated by Mr Darren Trofimczuk, a long-term space enthusiast and educational technology expert at Haaga-Helia.
Haaga-Helia for ethical tourism
To many, the Space Tourism Forum Porvoo was a welcome variation in the midst of a challenging pandemic year and at the same time, it also shifted their gaze towards the future. According to Mr Trofimczuk, the arrangements for the event were successful despite the adversities of May.
A big thanks for that belongs to Haaga-Helia's event management students, and to lecturer Ms Monika Birkle, who guided them. Students' work was considered essential to the success of the event.
Mr. Trofimczuk believes that there are still several aspects of space travel that still need answers.
In his view, it isn't just about getting into a rocket and blasting off into space.
— Over the coming decades, new jobs and industries will develop and grow, which is very positive for our students who are possibly thinking of a career in this new industry, but at the same time the ethics of operations and, above all, ethics in tourism should be considered, he says.
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences is one of the pioneers of space tourism-related education. Since 2019, the world's university course has been organized on the Porvoo campus, which intertwines the megatrend of sustainable development and space tourism.
Mr Trofimczuk is responsible for the implementation of the course together with Ms Toivonen, who also served as the keynote speaker at the event.
Rising theme in the fields of tourism and aviation
Ms Annette Toivonen, PHD researcher and lecturer in sustainable space tourism, also says that she is very satisfied with the arrangements for the event. The cancellations in May naturally brought some challenges, but in the end, everything went more than fine.
According to Ms Toivonen, she finds it fascinating that even at such a time as this, she can inspire people.
— It felt great to be able to help and share my academic space tourism expertise for the benefit of the event organising students as well as the audience, she says.
Toivonen is already excitedly looking forward, both organising the next year's event, as well as developing the space tourism-related educational content for Haaga-Helia even further.
Toivonen, who launched her debut book Sustainable Space Tourism: An Introduction (Channel View Publications, UK 2020) at the event, believes that interest in sustainable space tourism will increase exponentially in the near future.
— Due to technological breakthroughs in the last decade, the first space flights for tourists are expected to start very soon. Space tourism is a rising theme in the fields of tourism and aviation, she says.
The Space Tourism Event Porvoo was held on November 26th. Learn more about the event from the official event pages: https://www.spacetourismporvoo.fi/