ROCHESTER, N.Y. — 2021 will be remembered for a lot of things. One of them was seeing billionaires taking rockets into space. It’s all part of what one local travel agent says will be a new frontier for tourism.
Craig Curran owns DePrez Group of Travel Companies in Brighton. It’s an ever-changing business that’s always looking for something new.
“I’ve been in travel for 30 years, and I enjoy it,” said Curran. “I love what I do and I'll probably do it until the day I die. But [if] you do the same thing with the same product every day, it gets a little bit routine.“
Curran is also an adventure-seeker. He has swam with sharks, driven race cars and ridden camels in Dubai. The trips have taken him all over the world.
Curran’s newest venture will take clients out of this world.
“The thought that it would happen in my lifetime was non-existent,” he said.
Curran is an accredited space travel agent for Virgin Galactic. He’s one of just two dozen in the world, for Sir Richard Branson’s space flight company. Curran himself has a ticket for a future space flight, which he hopes to take in 2023.
“I will be one of the first non-military, non-government human beings to go to space,” he said. “To some people, that's exciting. To some people, it isn't. To me, it's exciting."
So is this experience. Curran shared video of himself and others in a zero-gravity flight experience — one which he is bringing to Rochester this weekend. They use a modified 727 used by NASA for training, which gives those willing to pay the $6,900 the same feeling astronauts experience.
“It’s an incredibly liberating feeling when we do it,” said Curran. “Most people are giddy with laughter. They're all beside themselves.”
Curran is also working with billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space firm. He can also sell you a future trip to the international space station. Not many of those are being sold right now, he admits. The cost is in the tens of millions of dollars.
But in an ever-changing travel industry — the universe is now the limit.
“We're going to get there fast,” said Curran. “The next stop is the moon, and then Mars. That's going to happen, and it's here today."