Since time immemorial, humanity has drawn inspiration from our view of the stars. Yet for the majority of people today, the heavens have become obscured by man-made light at light.

More than 99% of European and North American residents live under light-polluted skies, and for a third of people worldwide the Milky Way is entirely obscured (Falchi et al. 2016).

Dark sky tourism (DST) makes use of unpolluted nightscapes as its free and unlimited resource. In response to rising light pollution, people are seeking dark sky oases to experience awe and rediscover a piece of their ancestral heritage.

Dark skies are typically found in remote, rural areas, and thus offer the ideal location for DST experiences. When combined with astronomy activities, tourists can enjoy learning about our place in the Universe while observing celestial objects through telescopes or with the naked-eye.

At the same time, rural communities have a new means for diversifying their income – sustainably – while learning about artificial light at night and its harmful effects on humans and other living things; knowledge which is then passed on to the tourists.

If implemented appropriately, dark sky tourism (DST) can offer sustainable solutions to some of the UN’s sustainable development goals.

To see an example of dark sky tourism in action, take a look at the Namibia webpage.