Raffle to win Micronesian island resort: 'The odds are higher than any lotto'

By Lauren McMah

Remember Doug and Sally Beitz? They're the Australian couple selling off their tropical island home through a raffle.

And they've sparked an absolute, global ticket-selling frenzy.

The couple, who are originally from the Gold Coast, have spent the past two decades developing a waterfront resort on the idyllic Micronesian island of Kosrae.

Now wanting to return to Australia to be closer to their four sons and young granddaughter, Doug and Sally are selling the lot - their 16-room, fully staffed Kosrae Nautilus Resort as well as their lucrative scuba diving business - to the lucky winner of a A$66 (NZ$71) raffle ticket.

And they're about to find out who it is.

More than 43,900 people from more than 100 countries have bought a ticket in the Win the Island Estates raffle, which will be drawn on Tuesday, July 26.

The winning ticketholder will walk away with a 100 per cent share of Kosrae Nautilus Resort Inc, which went debt free in March last year and includes 18 hotel rooms, swimming pool, restaurants, rental vehicles and airport transfers, among other facilities.

They will also get the family's profitable Nautilus scuba diving operation, plus $US10,000 (NZ$14,290) in cash.

The family's resort comes fully-staffed and debt-free. Photo / Supplied
The family's resort comes fully-staffed and debt-free. Photo / Supplied

Previously, the terms and conditions of the raffle meant the sale would only be triggered if a certain number of tickets were sold - but now, the winner will receive the grand prize no matter how many are sold, the Beitz family confirmed.

And in a bonus, there's now a second prize that will be available only to Australian ticketholders - a nine-night, all-expenses paid holiday at the resort, including flights, accommodation, meals and tours.

So, if you've got a spare $66, get in.

"The odds are seriously higher than any standard lotto or prize home," Doug and Sally's son Adam told news.com.au.

Adam was the one who came up with the unique method for selling the family business.

He said the family was overwhelmed with the interest the raffle sale attracted - and not just in the property.

"We always knew this would do well, but we could have never predicted the hundreds of emails addressed to mum and dad from people all over the world telling them how much their story has inspired them and how wonderful the idea is. It's so overwhelming," he said.

"And yes, we're looking forward to meeting the winner. It's going to be a very emotional night on Tuesday the 26th."

Last month, Doug Beitz told news.com.au the family decided to opt for a raffle - rather than a conventional property sale - because it meant their beloved home and business could go to an average Joe, just like them.

"We look at ourselves as everyday people - we weren't highly educated people when we came here, just average, basic people," he said.

"We think, with the raffle, we can hopefully leave the island in the hands of someone who's not a millionaire, but in the hands of someone who's just like us."

Doug said it would be difficult saying goodbye to Korsae, where they raised their four children, but he and Sally were looking forward to being "professional grandparents" to their young granddaughter back in Australia.

Doug and Sally Beitz have decided to say goodbye to their Micronesian island home to spend more time with their family back in Australia. Photo / David Clark, News Corp Australia
Doug and Sally Beitz have decided to say goodbye to their Micronesian island home to spend more time with their family back in Australia. Photo / David Clark, News Corp Australia

The island of Kosrae, about 3800km from Brisbane, is part of the Federated States of Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean and home to about 6500 people.

The 111 square kilometre, high volcanic island has an international airport, schools and a thriving business centre, as well as lush jungle and healthy coral reefs.

It's popular with surfers, paddle boarders, hikers, snorkellers and divers, and also boasts ancient ruins and remnants from its occupation by the Japanese during World War II.

"During the war there were 8000 Japanese troops living here, although there were never any battles here, but there are caves and all sorts of stuff from those days when they used to hide in the mountains. You can go hiking and explore those caves," Doug said.

"There are at least two sets of ancient ruins. One is right out my window now, about a 20 minute walk away, and they're the Lelu ruins, from the 14th century, and they're massive basalt rocks ... they're all stacked up in big walls, where the kings from hundreds and hundreds of years ago used to live.

"Further down in the centre of the island there is at least a thousand set of ruins in there made out of stone that was a spiritual centre of the island. There is lots of pretty interesting stuff."

- news.com.au

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