The IDSDC, in a designated International Dark Sky Community, has a perfect opportunity to help serve the world-wide growth in astrotourism. As stated recently in the New York Times:
“Resorts, parks and attractions in the United States, Canada, Mexico and beyond are expanding the galaxy of what has become known as astrotourism.”
Many from around the world who have an interest in astronomy already travel to Arizona to visit Kitt Peak near Tucson, the Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. The IDSDC can be an additional stop for these travelers flying into Sky Harbor airport.
Catering to astrotourism are a growing number of hotels around the world that have telescopes available for guests. Some restaurants offer astro-themed food, such as a starry night margarita or a dessert in the shape of a galaxy.
In Fountain Hills, the Marriott CopperWynd Resort has developed a customized night-sky and presentation program for their guests. The program uses the expertise of what they are calling “Star Dudes,” who happen to be IDSDC Board members.
Laser tours of the night sky have become popular, and these are offered at the annual Dark Sky Festival in Fountain Hills. Combining a laser tour with a viewing through the large observatory telescope will certainly attract visitors from throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.