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There is an important distinction between two types of tourism. The traditional tourism is "external tourism" in which people visit the Moon not to settle down there but only for tourism. There will be some of this but probably not a major part of the Moon's income. The reason is because this vacation would be far, far more expensive than any vacation on Earth. One would have to give up most all of one's life savings for this one vacation. The situation is even worse for Mars in which one would also have to give up a chunk of one's life for such a "vacation".

But "internal tourism" is where the settlers on the Moon decide to tour the Moon after having settled down. It would seem that nearly 100% of people who settle on the Moon or Mars would want to tour the place that they spent so much money to go to. So, there will be a tourism industry on the Moon and Mars. It is just that most of the tourists might be permanent residents there.

It is an interesting comparison between tourism in low Earth orbit (LEO), on the Moon, and on Mars. As mentioned above, there probably won't be much external tourism on Mars because those tourists would have to spend many months of their life during transit to and from Mars. It would seem that LEO would be a favored destination for tourism due to the fact that it takes less propellant to get to LEO than the other two destinations. But there is another relevant factor to bear in mind. Anyone travelling to the Moon and Mars will definitely want to hand out in LEO for several weeks enjoying the view and the experience of zero gravity. And for those travelling to Mars, for a small percent increase in their overall price, they could throw in a lunar Grand Tour package as well. So, it could be that many of the LEO tourists will actually be settlers moving on to the Moon or Mars. If propellant is being produced on the Moon to fuel transportation between the Moon and LEO then the additional cost might be reasonable to throw in a lunar tour to one's LEO tourism package. For these reasons, it would seem that the number of LEO tourists will be somewhat more than lunar tourists and with Mars tourist numbers being substantially smaller despite the spectacular views on Mars.

The very high price for vacations to the Moon, or Mars would seem to suggest that tourism will not be the major driver for settlement at those locations. And one should assume that, once the settlers are already on the surface of the Moon or Mars, that the internal tourism done using mostly electric vehicles would be a pretty small percentage compared to their moving costs.

But LEO is primarily about tourism especially with tourist hotels in inclined orbits covering most of the Earth. Yet again, due to the extremely high price tag for this form of vacation, it may be that most of the tourism in LEO will be by settlers on their way to the Moon or Mars.

For those settlers on the Moon or visitors on their way to Mars, they will want to see the best sites that the Moon has to offer. At the top of the list would be the Apollo 11 landing site. But the tourist would probably also like to get a taste of the different categories of sites such as a lava tube, a famous crater, an irregular mare patch, a magnetic anomaly, a lava trench, and one of the early Russian rovers. Here is a Power Point of the current thinking of what places a Lunar Grand Tour might cover.

Martian settlers would undoubtedly want to tour some of the amazing sites on Mars. Mars has not only the largest canyon in the solar system (the Valles Marinaris) but also the largest volcano in the solar system (Olympus Mons). The three volcanoes in a line (the Tharsus region) would be popular. Probably the so-called face on Mars would be a popular site of curiosity. And, if the first life found off Earth was found on Mars then that would be a popular site to tour.

Tourism can be a significant driver for commercial space.

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