Editorial: Global tourism

Chinese outbound tourism next stop: To the far side of the moon

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

According to new data issued by UNWTO, 2018 saw 1.4 billion international trips taking place. Following 1.322 billion in 2017, that would be an increase of 78 million trips, out of which 17 million trips, or more than 20% of the total, would be the result of Mainland Chinese crossing a border. As the “W” in the name of the organisation implies, all these trips are taking part in the “World”, so any space travel, for instance to the far side of the moon, would not be counted at the moment.

Your humble author prided himself in the past of the insight that home sapiens had been pushed from his position in the centre of the university in several steps by Messiers Copernicus and Darwin and more recently by the discoveries of exoplanets and the spectre of AI and the singularity, was his own.

However, admitting here my ignorance, very recently I found that Sigmund Freud already in his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, published more than 100 years ago in 1917, had similar thoughts, saying that “Humanity has in the course of time had to endure from the hands of science two great outrages upon its naive self-love. The first was when it realised that our earth was not the centre of the universe, the second was when biological research robbed man of his peculiar privilege of having been specially created. … It is now suffering the third and most bitter blow (with the) proof to the ego of each one of us that he is not even master in his own house.“

This is of course an altogether “Western” discourse, as Daoism understood already 2,500 years ago that the Homo sapiens is not more than a little speck of – sorry – antshit vis-a-vis the universe. Until the times of Nicolaus Copernicus, China together with India was responsible for at least 50% of Global GDP and scientific discoveries which covered also astronomical knowledge.

So it can be seen as part of the move of China to claim back this position when they extended the range of travel by Chinese – albeit not of Chinese Home sapiens yet – to the far side of the moon including a bow to its agricultural traditions by planting the first cotton on the moon. If this is the beginning of building hotels on the moon, the Chinese ones on the far side of the moon will also enjoy sunshine – it is in fact not “dark” – but during moon nights a view of the universe not spoiled by the light reflected from the planet it circles.