Behind the Titan tragedy: The rich continue to travel to extremes

A similar fate befell the Titanic as it did a century ago when it went to the bottom of the ocean to search for its wreckage. The Atlantic Monthly, in reporting this story, referred to the “dark Tours” in Europe and the United States, referring to a sign of people visiting places of disaster or comedy, in order to reach the teaching consequences of valuing lives and careers.

Putting aside the energy to escape the exploration, the operation of a submersible that mainly smitten the wreck of a sunken ship, the “Titan” can carry a maximum of five crew members to undertake a trade trip. The U.S. company Landgate, which operates the tour, had previously announced that the trip would cost $250,000 per person for eight days and seven nights, half of which would be spent on the North Atlantic Ocean. This price does not include hotel, accommodation and other conservative main expenses of the tour.

Although the number of customers is extremely limited, Landgate’s annual revenue is still as high as $7.8 million, thanks to the attention of the wealthy.

None of the crew members who died were ordinary travelers, Among them are Stockton Rush, 61, founder of Landgate; Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, French undersea explorer; Shahzada Dawood, 48, father and son of British Pakistani origin. And 58-year-old British billionaire Hamish Harding.

According to the course, among them, Push and Nagilje were the pilot of the submersible and the amateur narrator of the Titanic, and the real trade tourists were the other three men. And they are not alone in their obsession with expensive, limited attractions.

Travel the limits of sea, land and air

Since the launch of the Titanic Wreck expedition in 2021, Landgate has successfully constructed two trading shipwreck expeditions and 25 scientific missions, and at least 28 people have used it to reach the place where the Titanic “long died.” If the mission is successful, Landgate also plans to construct at least five Titanic expeditions in 2024.

And the deep sea is just one of the popular destinations for all kinds of limited excursions. According to Grand View Research, a market-research firm, a growing number of tour companies like Landgate are offering expeditions to the wealthy that include deep sea, polar regions, caves and space. The global adventure travel market is estimated to grow from $322 billion in 2022 to more than $1 trillion this year.

Nick D’Annunzio, founder of sports PR firm TARA, Ink., says, “What I see in the super-rich is that money is not an achievement in the face of pride. They want something they’ll never forget.”

Harding, who died this time, is a model. In 2019, he set a Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the Earth’s North and South poles with a Gulfstream G650 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing; Two years later, he piloted a two-man submersible to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on land. Challenger Deep is a more popular destination for undersea exploration than the wreck of the Titanic.

In addition to Harding, who has the financial resources to build his own team, and renowned director James Cameron, EYOS Expeditions has partnered with private submarine diving company Caladan Oceanic to launch the first public Mariana Trench expedition tour in 2020.

The tour offers Tours of the Mariana Trench for three people on a first-come, first-served basis and costs $750,000 per person, the most in the world for a terrestrial tour. Depending on the distance, the eight-day trench trip from Guam to the Mariana Trench requires a 14-hour pause in the submersible, of which the dive takes four hours, and the crew will have four hours on the seabed to stop filming and exploring.

Image source: EYOS
In addition to the Mariana Trench Expeditions, EYOS Expeditions also offers expeditions including four ocean cave expeditions, deep-sea hydrothermal vents and other Tours, and even the most expensive Antarctic expeditions can cost as much as 25,000 to 50,000 euros per person.

In addition to the more legally-constrained deep-sea category, space travel has also grown rapidly in the past few years.

In 2021, Bezos, the former richest man in the world, joined space through his aerospace company Blue Split. Another billionaire, Richard Branson, has chosen his own aerospace company, Virgin River, for his own space tour.

In addition to Bezos, the first tourist to join space aboard the Blue Split New Shepard spacecraft even paid $28 million for the trip. On May 5, 2021, the Blue Split began to auction the first trip ticket of the New Shepard, although the starting price was as high as $4.8 million, but within 1 month, it was awarded to nearly 7,000 wealthy people from 159 countries. But in fact, the Blue Split’s first space flight lasted only 11 minutes, including only three minutes in weightlessness.

So far, the Blue Split has sent nearly 30 passengers into space, including Harding, who died on the “Titan”. Because the blue split price is not transparent, its sub-route flight and space tour price is about $200,000 – $300,000 per person, but in reality, the department’s senior customers are directly exempted from the cost by Bezos. Dude Perfect, a YouTube channel, revealed that customers actually paid $1.25 million for the blue split. At that price, a trip on the New Shepard would cost nearly $100,000 a minute, compared with $19 a minute on Emirates’ premium first Class.

As for Blue Split’s mutual rival Virgin River, its pricing is more transparent. In June 2022, Virgin River announced a $450,000 per-person ticket for its space trip, which essentially includes a 90-minute flight that takes passengers 50 miles or more above the ground, with four minutes of weightlessness. Virgin River Chief Executive Michael Colglazier announced last year that the airline would serve its first 1,000 passengers, but the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the flight last year because of a flashed-off error in airspace.

On June 16 this year, Virgin River announced that it would stop its first commercial space flight between June 27 and 30. At present, Virgin River has sold more than 800 space tickets.

The more extreme case is Musk’s SpaceX. On April 8, 2022, SpaceX for the first time sent four ordinary officials into space through the “Falcon 9” carrier rocket, compared to the weightlessness of Virgin Hehan and Blue Split for a few minutes, SpaceX sent four passengers to the domestic space station, and stopped the live broadcast of the connection between the spacecraft and the domestic space station and the opening of the hatch. The tourist returned to Earth on April 19 after spending a week in space. Three of the richest people in the world, excluding former NASA astronauts, each paid a whopping $55 million.

In fact, as early as 2001, Dennis Tito spent $22 million to become the first space tourist aboard the domestic space station. Although Tito himself, with his experience at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the United States, cannot strictly be regarded as a pure trade move, he did start a wave of rich space travel.

In addition to the domestic space station, SpaceX also chose to visit the more distant destination of the moon. In 2018, Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa was announced by SpaceX as the world’s first private lunar travel guest, planning to carry Starship spacecraft to stop a three-day trip around the moon.

From the South Pole to Everest, the luxury of a new age

Compared with the rare deep-sea and space limits, the destinations represented by Antarctica, Mount Everest, and the African grasslands are more popular among wealthy and seeking comfort.

Once difficult to involve Everest, mountain climbers can now spend 40,000 to 100,000 euros to climb under the leadership, and the price of a three-week comprehensive service package is about 190,000 euros. Since the 1990s, the number of successful visitors to the summit of Qomolangma began to explode, from a single digit number per year to a rapid decline to about 800 per year before the outbreak of COVID-19. For example, on May 21, 2022, when the weather conditions are better, 22 people successfully reached the summit in one day.

For customers who buy Everest packages, tour companies will even mail generators and tents before departure so that visitors can stop the simulation practice at home.

Credit: furtenbach adventures
Another place that was once considered a no-life zone but is now as crowded as Everest is Antarctica. More than 10,000 tourists visit Antarctica every year since the Soviet Union’s coal wrecking ships began to undertake trade Tours for economic reasons in the 1990s.

Depending on the degree of exploration, visitors can choose from around $20,000 for the Antarctic Peninsula, $30,000 for the Drake Passage, and $50,000 to $100,000 for the Amundsen Test Station at the astronomical South Pole.

Although the number of tourists visiting Antarctica during the 2020 pandemic fell to 15, it is estimated that the Antarctic will welcome 100,000 more tourists this summer.

And exploring the African savannahs was equally popular. Abercrombie & Kent, a British firm, offers nature expeditions to countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. An adventure on the East African savannahs will set you back £20,000, compared to the model Kenya tour, which costs £6,700. Abercrombie & Kent’s 2024 Wild Plant Escape Adventure, which launched this year for a whopping £165,000, sold out in just three months.

Other popular excursions include exploring underwater caves in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, fighting tornadoes in Tornado Alley in the United States and climbing charcoal in Canada’s Descending Mountains.

The production of “Titan” comedy, to a greater extent, is due to the performance of the operating company itself. Dr Adele Doran, of Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, said: “The Titan incident does not inhibit the need for limited Tours. While some people may be able to rethink things like the deep sea or space, for those who can afford it, exploration itself is a potential need. In this very small business, similar disturbances can occur again.”

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