The wild world of extreme tourism for billionaires | Wired

Since the pandemic, Madison has noticed an uptick in high net worth individuals who have booked full expedition trips. “A client bought an entire trip to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica for $200,000 last year,” he says. “It’s the latest trend: billionaires want their own adventure with friends. They fly to Antarctica on a private jet. It’s the next level.”

Although his mountain excursions are of high quality, Madison says they come with minimal comfort. He adds that his greatest luxury is at Everest base camp: warm showers, yoga sessions and a dining tent with a movie screen are among the $75,000 trek’s amenities. “The guys who come to my adventures ultimately want to suffer a little—that’s what it feels like to be alive. Otherwise, they’d be staying at a five-star Four Seasons resort somewhere.”

However, there also exists a cottage industry for extreme luxury tourism. White Desert Antarctica offers luxury accommodations near the South Pole for $15,000 a night, filled with antlers, luxuriously furnished, and private chefs. Harding has made that trip, too. “Hamish has been a true friend of White Desert for many years,” founder Patrick Woodhead said in a statement. “He’s traveled to Antarctica with us many times, including with astronaut Buzz Aldrin when he visited.”

With these extreme tour companies, safety generally comes at a high price. Madison says his service offers networks of expert guides and logistical knowledge, as well as Western and Sherpa teams that train, assist, and lead adventurers up to 8,000 meters above sea level. Supplemental oxygen, good food, and improved communication are also provided. “But you can tour Everest very cheaply and climb with your own tent and without a guide,” says Mountain. “There are a lot of operators who provide rudimentary service – and this is where it can get really dangerous. You are left on your own.”

OceanGate seems to have had its feet in both camps. As the only tour operator providing sightseeing tours Titanic-And Titan One of only a handful of manned submersibles capable of reaching depths of 12,500 feet — tickets didn’t come cheap. At the same time, the conditions inside the submarine were far from luxurious, and diving was very risky. OceanGate’s waiver doesn’t just mention Dying three times on the first pageAnd Titan On the outside – leaving those inside to survive on a limited amount of oxygen and relying on outside support to get out of the submarine, even after the surface. The ship was also controlled by a modified video game console. “Nobody on board had any illusions that it was safe,” Mountain says. “That’s part of the appeal: The wreck is incredibly inaccessible, dangerous to visit and steeped in legends. And very few people have done it.”

These risky expeditions have replaced luxury items for thrill-seeking entrepreneurs, says Grace Lordan, associate professor of behavioral sciences at the London School of Economics. “Pleasure and purpose tend to determine happiness, and have been related to material purchases and philanthropy. Over time, redistribution of wealth still provides a purpose, but pleasure is difficult to achieve.”

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