22 Jul 2016

Australian couple raffle a Micronesian island

6:25 pm on 22 July 2016

An Australian couple has come up with a novel way to sell their tropical Micronesian island - by holding a raffle.

Kosrae Nautilus Resort.

Kosrae Nautilus Resort. Photo: Supplied

Doug and Sally Beitz have sold almost 44,000 tickets at $NZ71 each to people from 100 countries around the world.

The winner will own the Kosrae Nautilus Resort including its restaurant, hotel rooms and scuba-diving business.

Doug Beitz told Checkpoint with John Campbell the raffle had been going for about 12 weeks with about four days to go, and the goal was always to sell around 50,000 tickets.

He said selling the island online was really the only option given they were about 1000km from the nearest real estate agent.

Mr Beitz said they wanted to sell the island to move back to Australia to be close to family and their eldest son came up with the idea of an online raffle.

"After we really looked into it, we thought this is an exciting, unusual thing to do, put the place into the hands of the average everyday person instead of someone who's wealthy."

With the number of tickets sold, the couple will get around $NZ3m for the island.

Mr Beitz said the winner would get a 2.5-3ha island with a resort with 18 hotel rooms, a 70-seat restaurant, a scuba dive operation, two dive boats, eight rental cars and a four-bedroom two-bathroom house for the manager/owner.

The island was a former US trust territory so had a good airport and it was possible to fly there either via Brisbane or Fiji, he said.

Mr Beitz said he bought the island when he was in his mid-20s after he saw a television documentary on the Federated States of Micronesia, and shortly after that read an article in a magazine in a doctor's surgery about business opportunities there.

"I was too young and naive to realise how big and bold of a project it was and just off we went, and built a hotel up there and a restaurant and a dive operation."

The raffle will be drawn on Tuesday using a website which will randomly draw the winning ticket number.