After a tumultuous decade of playing second fiddle to national politics, Christmas Island’s tourism industry finally has the opportunity to shine again. This week, the island’s Immigration Detention Centre (IDC), which opened its doors in 2008, will scale back to ‘hot contingency’ status,
which means it will be closed to detainees, and only operational should the need arise. Tourism operators on the tropical island, located 2600 kilometres north-west of Perth, hope this change in status of the centre means the spotlight can once again be shone on the island’s extraordinary natural wonders.
“Our industry has had to endure many challenges during the past ten years,” reports Lisa Preston, Chair of the Christmas Island Tourism Association, adding “it’s great to be able to finally start getting our positive messages out into our markets”.
Earlier this week, the tropical island celebrated its 60th anniversary as an Australian Territory. “The closure of the IDC is the ultimate birthday present”, says Preston, explaining,
“we are now poised to start developing our island’s long-term vision for the future, which means embracing tourism and the new opportunities that it will bring for all.” The closure of the IDC is especially welcome by several recent tourism developments on the island, including Swell Lodge,
A luxury cabin perched atop a sea cliff that is attracting visitors from as far as Europe, and Extra Divers, a global diving conglomerate which recently opened its first Australian dive centre on the island.
National and international icons are lining up to sing the praises of the island’s stunning marine life (you can swim, snorkel and scuba dive with whale sharks), glorious deserted beaches and wildlife that exists nowhere else on the planet. “I’ve been to many places on this Earth and Christmas Island is one of the most fantastic,” says Aussie adventurer and entrepreneur Dick Smith.
Meanwhile, celebrated naturalist Sir David Attenborough describes the annual march of the island’s endemic red crabs as “one of the most spectacular migrations on the planet.” Santa may still be more than two months away, but for the island’s resilient tourism industry, this year Christmas appears to have arrived early.
Discover Christmas Island before the rest of the world does. For further information or images, please contact Jahna Luke, Marketing Manager at Christmas Island Tourism, on +61 8 9164 8382 or firstname.lastname@example.org Christmas Island – a natural wonder Did You Know? Getting to Christmas Island has never been easier with a Garuda Charter now flying once a week from Jakarta, adding to twice-weekly Virgin Australia flights from Perth. For more information please visit www.christmas.net.au