The government is set to inject a $4.6 million boost to tourism on Christmas Island in its latest bid to economically diversity the infamous island.
In its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Morrison government outlined plans to spend $4.6 million over three years from 2019-20 to support economic diversification on the island including “improvements to tourism infrastructure, a business case for a scientific research centre, and the establishment of a business innovator and entrepreneur network”.
An additional $7.8 million will also be spent improving air services to the Indian Ocean Territories over two years.
This comes after the government spent $27 million re-opening its immigration detention centre on the island last year, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The detention centre has housed only four people, all members of a Tamil family fighting deportation to Sri Lanka.
Before the detention centre reopened, visitor numbers in 2018 almost doubled from the previous year.
The Christmas Island Tourism Association lobbied against the re-opening of the detention centre, as the destination’s economic stability shifts away from its once prosperous phosphate mining industry.
“That negative connotation has done the island enormous damage for tourism because it’s completely not the case,” Chris Bray, who owns an eco-lodge on the island told ABC News back in February.
“Thankfully, overseas it’s not so bad. But in the Australian market, it needs a lot of help.”