For your consideration - Thom Barker

For your consideration - Thom Barker

Vacations for the uber-rich: a stark reminder of income inequality

The fact there is even a market for such experiences and accommodations is obscene

There is a heli-ski operation in Old Remo, just outside of Terrace, that has been raising some controversy over the past few weeks.

The proposed business will offer packages of four nights and 10 nights for groups of five at $80,000 and $200,000 respectively. OK, the official prices are $79,999 and $199,999, a classic marketing technique referred to as “psychological pricing,” which is intended to make people feel like they are paying less than what the actual price is. But I’m not trying to market this, so let’s call it what it is.

And seriously, if you can afford to fork over $199,999 for a 10-day vacation, is that one dollar really the breaking point?

I want to be outraged by this, but I’m having a hard time.

It’s being targeted at the super-rich, but you wouldn’t even really have to be. The 10-day package is only $3,999.98 per person per night. The four-night package is even cheaper at $3,999.95.

Now, that is way, way beyond my means and always will be unless I win the lottery, which isn’t going to happen because I don’t buy tickets.

But it’s also not obscene. Let’s say you’re an avid snowboarder or skier whose bucket list vacation is to carve some of the greatest backcountry snow in the world. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience like that, which includes staying in the lap of luxury at a $15 million mansion with gourmet food and helicopter access to some of the most pristine wilderness on the planet, 20 grand is not entirely unreasonable.

What is obscene is, if you are a member of the uber-rich crowd, the price tag of this vacation is like making an impulse purchase of a Snickers bar at the grocery store till for the rest of us. Shucks, I don’t need it, but that ooey-gooey goodness, what the heck, you only live once.

Nevermind Old Remo, though, if you want really ostentatious and are short on time, you can board a private Gulfstream jet in Cape Town, South Africa, fly to Antarctica, explore for a few hours, dine on a champagne dinner and be back to manicuring your toenails and having your butler exercise your prized Arabian for you in less than 24 hours for only $195,000.

The cold and barren landscape of the South Pole not appealing to you? How about a tropical villa atop Fiji’s Laucala Island for a mere $44,000 per night?

The fact there is even a market for such experiences and accommodations is obscene.

The worst part is, the uber-rich, a few hundred people on the planet — the .001 per centers — could virtually end world hunger tomorrow with their personal fortunes and still easily afford a 10-day heli-skiing getaway to Old Remo for themselves and four of their closest friends.

With raging inflation, most of us are feeling the pinch, so it’s easy to forget that most Canadians fall in the top 10 per cent of income earners. We are not poor by any means, but the gap is widening.

Income inequality is probably the most pressing issue of our age.

Thom BarkerBlack Press Media regional editor for Northwest B.C.

Kitimat-Stikine Regional DistrictRezoningTourism

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