The Mirpuri Foundation joins forces again with the European Space Agency (ESA) for another groundbreaking initiative, now focused on sustainable tourism. The “Space for Tourism” partnership was announced in an ESA webinar gathering several organizations around the globe.

Martin Barth – World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL), Alfred Schumm – WWF, Paras Loomba – Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), and Ana Agostinho, from the Mirpuri Foundation, were some of the key speakers.

Space for Tourism initiative seeks space-based technologies that can accelerate good practices towards sustainable development in the tourism and travel industry.

Tourism is a large contributor to many national economies; according to statistics prior to the pandemic, the sector would directly contribute on average with 4.4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 21.5% of service exports in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries [OECD Tourism trend Policies, 2020].

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the actions and countermeasures being undertaken to limit its spread, have altogether triggered an unprecedented crisis in the tourism economy, whose impact is spreading throughout the entire tourism ecosystem and beyond, with foreseen long-lasting societal and economic effects. Beyond the tangible and short-term consequences to the tourism sector, the pandemic is expected to have a knock-on effect on travelers’ behavior. Travelers will need to be reassured of safety during travels as well as at their destinations. To accomplish this, a concerted set of actions involving both private and public sector has to be undertaken to elevate new safety, health and hygiene standards, and give visibility of well-thought processes to objectively assess those. 

Despite the challenges, such crisis creates the opportunity to rethink tourism and promote a structural transformation of this sector towards a stronger, more sustainable, and resilient tourism economy. Connectivity and digital transformation are required for the sector to initiate such a purposeful innovative journey while responding to the COVID-19 challenges. Initial indications are that the current crisis is accelerating the digital transformation of the sector. Digital solutions are being developed to create live tourism experiences and will be increasingly deployed to support virtual experience for remote destinations. 

This is not the first time that the Mirpuri Foundation partners with ESA. The Foundation has already shared environmental inputs for a feasibility study to support post COVID-19 outbreak socio-economic recovery, and supported an ESA initiative aimed at reducing the environmental impact of plastics.



The European Space Agency is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organization with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA Space Solutions aims at reaching commercial exploitation of space assets, data and capabilities addressing incubation, proving technical feasibility and business development. This includes the development of operational services for a wide range of users through the combination of different systems, and support in creating viable companies as well as to existing companies.