Sydney - A lucky Australian man has won his own remote Pacific island resort in a raffle, after shelling out just $49 (about R700) for the winning ticket to claim the paradise property.
The man, identified as Joshua, won the 16-room Micronesian resort in a draw organised by the Australian owners, who were looking to handover 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 Doug's efforts to reach the new owner by phone and inform him of his life-changing win were not immediately successful.
He eventually tracked the lucky winner down and gave him the good news.
“His name is Joshua and he's from Australia,” Doug said, adding that he lived in New South Wales state.
The man's full identity was not immediately 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, had sunk in.
Joshua will take ownership of a resort, which is debt-free, profitable and has more than 20 years left on its lease.
Doug and Sally Beitz, who built the resort in 1994, have lived in Micronesia for more than two decades but said they felt it was time to return to Australia.
They were going 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,” Doug said ahead of the draw, for which tens of thousands of tickets were sold around the world.
If nothing else, it afforded some people an 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.”