In a new interview with Lorraine, a British talk show host, Branson touched a bit on the topic of this so-called billionaire space race, but only to say that it doesn’t exist. In fact, he’d very much prefer if people stopped pegging him as a “billionaire,” even though that’s exactly what he is.
“I must admit I haven't liked the word billionaire,” he said, as you can see in the video at the bottom of the page. “It's like, ‘Richard Branson, billionaire.’ I think what all of us [Bezos and Musk] are trying to do is to spend our lives creating things that we can be proud of, that make a difference in the world and hopefully pay the bills at the end of the year.”
He went on to say that flying the Unity 22 spaceplane to the edge of space was a long and very expensive journey for Galactic, but also one that kept Virgin employees paid at a time when everything else shut down at the start of the health crisis in 2020. As for the motivation for it, in some convoluted way, Branson makes the argument that you can only appreciate Earth for the wonderful planet it is only after you have seen it from space.
In other words, fly to space to see Earth and know that we have to do something about climate change, overpopulation and all the other issues threatening to wipe humanity out.