Paradise is getting poorer. Visits to Hawaii are down and tourist spending is slumping 15 percent. But rather than offer, say, another honeymooners deal, the state is thinking outside the box -- er, the biosphere. It wants to build a galactic etherport to fly tourists through space. Aloha, Earth!
I believe the industry jargon for this move is gutsy. Space tickets these days go for about $200,000 -- you can reserve your own here, by the way. We are also, you have surely heard, in a recession (or not?). So it's a ballsy move, but it's also not unique. The Honolulu Advertiser reports that New Mexico is building its own $200 million spaceport and "Oklahoma, Florida and a host of other communities nationally and globally are vying for a piece of the space tourism market." Crazy loves company, I suppose.
"In principle," Conor Dougherty notes on the Real Time Economics Blog, "the economic idea behind a spaceport probably isn't much different than cruise terminals, something Hawaii is well familiar with." That's true. Spaceports aren't any different than cruise terminals -- except cruises exist, and they can be booked for less than the price of a Lamborghini Gallardo.