[BBC] Why humans are drawn to the ends of the Earth

Despite the risks, costs and environmental concerns of extreme tourism, people are still drawn to potentially dangerous trips – but why?

A year ago this week, the world focused its attention on the remote depths of the North Atlantic when the Titan sub, a cramped vessel operated by a video game controller, lost contact with its host ship on the sea’s surface while descending to the Titanic wreckage. With just a 96-hour supply of oxygen, a frantic rescue mission unfolded.

A few days later, authorities confirmed that the poorly designed submersible had suffered a “catastrophic implosion” 3,800m below the sea, instantly killing the two-man crew and three passengers who had paid $250,000 apiece for their trip.

Arun Upneja, Dean of the School of Hospitality Administration at Boston University, said one way to address the potential risks and costs of extreme tourism would be requiring companies offering these voyages to carry insurance making them liable for the risks and potential cleanup of an accident.

“Search and rescue insurance should be in some way mandatory… so society’s not on the hook,” he said.

But like Marsh, Upneja doesn’t believe that the potential dangers of extreme tourism are enough to slow its momentum. In fact, he notes that the waiver signed by Titan passengers reportedly mentioned the word “death” three times on the first page. Price isn’t likely to be a long-term hindrance either.

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