The annual conference kicked off yesterday with a keynote address by one of Virgin Galactic’s future spaceflight participants about a pressing need: luxury accommodations and services for wealthy fliers like himself.
Michael Blum, founder and president of investment research and media firm Hedgeye Risk Management and former senior manager at PayPal, kicked off the annual symposium at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum on Tuesday.
Southern New Mexico needs six-star hotels, restaurants and other upscale amenities to serve the wealthy ticket-holders who will take suborbital spaceflights from Spaceport America, Blum said. A southern road from Hatch to the complex, just north of Doña Ana County, is also needed to more easily access the spaceport, he said….
Blum and the hundreds of other future fliers will be looking for ritzy places to stay and things to do in the area, from upscale spas to desert horseback rides, he said. Local businesses and entrepreneurs need to step up to offer those services, he said.
“We’re not talking about millions of people, but we’re talking about people with tremendous net worth,” Blum said.
Part of promise of building Spaceport America was to bring additional business development Southern New Mexico, which is sparsely populated and has a high poverty rate. However, years of delays in the start of Virgin Galactic’s commercial service and a deep recession have slowed these plans.
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