Winner announced in historic island resort raffle sale

The winning ticket has been drawn - and in this unique raffle, there are two big winners.

A bloke from Wollongong called Joshua is suddenly the proud owner of a multi-million dollar tropical island resort after its current owners, Doug and Sally Beitz, offered it as a grand prize in a raffle sale that sparked a global frenzy.

And the Beitz family, who built the dream resort on Micronesian island of Kosrae more than 20 years ago, are walking away a hell of a lot richer - and very happy.

As the winning ticket holder in Tuesday night's draw, Joshua - who is hanging onto his anonymity, for now - now owns the Beitz family's 16-room Kosrae Nautilus Resort and associated scuba diving business, both fully staffed and debt-free.

A whopping 75,485 tickets were sold to people in about 150 countries in the historic raffle.

Joshua bought just three tickets.

In his first statement to the media, an "overwhelmed" Joshua told he took a punt in the raffle after reading about it on his lunch break.

"What started as a simple click of a news article during my lunch break that piqued my interest has resulted in a life-changing experience that I could only dream of," he said.

"I would like to thank Doug and Sally and the whole Beitz family for providing this amazing opportunity and am looking forward to cutting the red tape, making a trip to the resort to see what paradise looks like and to experience all that the resort has to offer.

"I look forward to working with Doug, his family and the amazing staff to learn about the ins and outs of the business and to continue its success long into the future."

Doug and Sally will spend the next few weeks handing over the business to Josh and getting him acquainted with Kosrae, an island popular for surfing and snorkelling about 3800km from Brisbane.

Tickets in the raffle were sold for $US49 ($NZ69) each, with a discount applied for multiple sales. The Beitz family indicated they were walking away with about $NZ4.1 million.

"It has absolutely been worth it," Doug told

The Breitz family, owners and residents of the Nautilus resort on Kosrae Island in Micronesia, put their island up as a raffle prize. Photo / Facebook
The Breitz family, owners and residents of the Nautilus resort on Kosrae Island in Micronesia, put their island up as a raffle prize. Photo / Facebook

"We've had several big family dinners where we've sat down and talked about how wonderful the whole thing has been for us as a family. It's brought us together and taught us so much about ourselves, and we can see in each other how the process has helped us grow and become better at things we didn't think we could do. And that's without even talking about the money.

"We've been getting emails from people all around the world thanking us for giving them a dream and something to look forward to. One lady who just emailed said she didn't even care if the raffle was drawn - she was just happy to have something to look forward to.

"Now we are focusing on the next chapter of our lives and where we go from here," he added, saying Sally was planning to write a book about life on Kosrae.

Doug and Sally, who confessed to having no prior experience in the hospitality industry, moved to the island in 1994 with the dream of establishing a resort.

Their four sons were raised on Kosrae, attending a local school and exploring the island's lush jungles, ancient ruins and World War II-era relics, as well as caves and coral reefs.

The couple plan to return to Australia where their family is now based, although they said saying goodbye to their home of 22 years would be difficult.

"I've been talking to the governor of the island and he's been ecstatic with the raffle and also thanked us for being part of the community all these years," Doug said.

"We'd like to think we will be back at regular intervals. All our kids are already much talking about going back for some surfing."

Joshua can opt to run the resort himself or appoint a manager to run it on his behalf.
The resort and scuba business come debt-free, profitable and staffed by 16 long-term employees.

Previously, Doug told they opted for the unique sale in the hopes the businesses wouldn't be exclusively available to multi-million developers.

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


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