Richard Branson, the billionaire who wants to open a hotel on the Moon: “In 50 years there will be trips there”
The versatile British businessman opens a luxury establishment in Mallorca and fantasizes about being the first to have one on Earth’s satellite.
Richard Branson (London, 72 years old) is one of the best-known businessmen on the planet. He has been making juicy headlines for decades due to his commercial or personal adventures. Even for the combination of both, as when he flew to the ends of the atmosphere with his own aerospace company, ahead of characters like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. The British tycoon won the race of billionaires to reach space despite the fact that his fortune, valued at about 3,000 million dollars by Forbes, is light years ahead of that of his competitors.
No one can doubt that the Briton knows how to compete. He also received media attention, and that is why his apparent shyness disappears when he does not hesitate to get into a fountain to immortalize his arrival at Son Bunyola, the new luxury hotel that he has just inaugurated in Majorca. Or getting on a chair to welcome guests to the opening party, to which the company invites various media. “In 50 years I think people will still be looking for wilderness,” he says, “and as the world will unfortunately be more built up, the big challenge is to make sure it’s similar to what it is now.”
The seed of Branson’s business was the Virgin Records record company, which he founded in 1972 and sold in the early 1990s. But the brand that gives its name to a group with diverse businesses remained, from gyms to telephony, in which those linked to tourism stand out. Among others, two airlines, a cruise company and several hotels. The consolidated results of the group in 2021, the last ones that it has made public on its website, reflect an income of 116 million pounds —almost 136 million euros, at the current exchange rate— of which 16.3 million came from the hotel part. The final consolidated result showed losses of 10.5 million euros. “The Virgin Group is a global company,” says its founder. “We describe a circle around the world and try to address some of the big problems,” he adds, emphasizing his relationship with historical figures such as Kofi Annan or Nelson Mandela.
Branson has never been a discreet businessman. His public image is closer to that of a musical star or political personality, a terrain that he does not shy away from. Since the start of the Ukrainian war he has met President Volodymyr Zelensky twice. And the opposite opinion of him on Brexit is known. Do you think that the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU harms businesses like the one that has just opened in Mallorca? “There is not a single Englishman working here, which is sad,” he replies bluntly. And yet he develops the answer to make it clear that in his opinion on this matter there is no room for half measures: “Brexit has had very few benefits, if any, because I do not see any. And hopefully one day common sense will prevail again and someone will ask us if we want to unite with Europe again”, says who since 2000 has had the sir in front of his name because he was knighted by the then Prince of Wales and current King Charles III.