Aussie wins Pacific island resort with $67 raffle ticket

SYDNEY • A lucky Australian man has won his own remote Pacific island resort in a raffle, after shelling out just US$49 (S$67) for the winning ticket to claim the paradise property.

The man, identified only as Joshua, won the 16-room Micronesian resort in a draw organised by the Australian owners, who were looking to hand over the lodge to someone like-minded.

Ahead of the draw, co-owner Doug Beitz said he was hoping the winner would be "someone who likes warm weather, likes meeting new people from around the world, is adventurous".

A video posted on Facebook revealed the winning number, drawn on Tuesday evening by a computer, to be ticket 44,980.

But Mr Beitz's efforts to reach the new owner by phone and inform him of his life-changing win were not immediately successful.

He eventually tracked down the lucky winner and gave him the good news.

"His name is Joshua and he's from Australia," Mr Beitz said, adding that the winner lived in New South Wales state.

The man's full identity will not be revealed until news of winning the Kosrae Nautilus Resort on the Micronesian island of Kosrae, which lies west of Hawaii and north of the Solomon Islands, has sunk in.

Joshua will take ownership of a resort with 16 air-conditioned hotel rooms that is debt-free and profitable and has more than 20 years left on its lease.

Mr Beitz and his wife Sally built the resort in 1994 and have lived in Micronesia for more than two decades but now wish to return to Australia.

They had planned to sell the property in the traditional way until one of their sons came up with the idea of the raffle.

"We will do financially well out of it," Mr Beitz said ahead of the draw, for which tens of thousands of tickets were sold around the world.

If nothing else, the raffle offered people the opportunity to dream of life on a tropical paradise.

"Thanks for the awesome dream," wrote one ticket buyer on Facebook.

Another said: "Congrats Joshua, have a good life there."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Aussie wins Pacific island resort with $67 raffle ticket'. Print Edition | Subscribe