Achieving regular manned commercial space travel is also worthwhile
When I see statement like this, I think of the Everest guiding industry. In many ways, carrying tourists to 100 kilometers and then returning is much like guiding them to 29,000 feet. Neither one has any real purpose other than bragging rights. Arguably the boom in Everest climbing tourism has had major negative effects, including pollution of the high-alpine environment and a high death rate by the employees. I wouldn't be surprised if the suborbital tourism industry took a similar path, but pretending that it has some long-term benefit is deceiving yourself, IMO. Richard Branson isn't going to colonize the stars, any more than Alpine Ascents International is colonizing the high Himalayas.