Insurance provider BUPA Travel is to offer insurance to travelers venturing into space, in the anticipation that space travel becomes a more popular activity with the likes of Richard Branson planning flights into space as early as 2009, and test flights due to start this year.

<p>The insurance group already offers travel insurance in specialist areas such as skiing and gap year travel, and is set to enter the space tourist market as its next area of insurance. <br /><br />We are looking into space tourism as a real market for the next generation of travelers, especially as Russian cosmonauts have already taken tourists up into space, said Nick Potter, head of BUPA Travel. Obviously we have to take into account various issues, such as the effect such a journey would have on the human body, although clarity will come in this new area of travel within the next decade. <br /><br />BUPA Travel has also recently launched a new mature gap year or sabbatical product for those aged 36 to 45 who wish to take a career break. This new product is an extension to BUPA Travel&#0039;s young person&#0039;s explorer travel insurance policy, which covers a wide range of activities including bungee jumping and whit water rafting.</p>