ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is funding a campaign in accordance with the WA Tourism Council to rebrand Christmas Island as a family holiday and party destination.
In a move similar to the one that brought new life to Rottnest Island, the campaign will focus heavily on the island’s natural beauty and ecological importance.
As the fallout continues from the Abbott Government’s violations of international law on both Nauru and Manus Island, the federal government is looking to brighten its outlook on immigration policy.
Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton MP, says the spotlight needs to be shifted from the detention facility to what Christmas Island offers both culturally and ecologically. The Turnbull Government looks to promote the Indian Ocean community as a low-key island destination, where no one needs to know what’s you are getting up to.
“Many Australians are starting to learn what anthropologists and naturalists have known for decades,” says Mr Morrison.
“Christmas Island is one of the most beautiful places on Earth,”
“However, there’s a capacity to establish a small arts festival on the Island to stimulate the local economy – similar to Thailand’s Koh Phangan or Koh Phi Phi,”
“All of the bad press coming from Christmas Island is frankly unfair because it detracts from what the island actually is – Gorgeous.” says Mr Morrison.
The tourist mecca of Broome is only a short seventeen-hour plane trip via Perth or a twelve-hour ferry ride from the remote island, prompting intrepid travel agencies to market the destination as the “outback of the ocean”.
“Christmas Island could be the new Koh Phangan or Koh Phi Phi,” says Broome-based travel agent Melinda Card.
“Earlier this year, a few cool and popular bands played a couple gigs or Rottnest [Island]. Perhaps Christmas Island could play host to its own party festival in the future?”
“People travel from all over the world to go to Full Moon Party in Thailand – Christmas Island would be perfect for it.” says Ms Card.
Perth-based agency Catfish Creative won the campaign contract, beating out over a hundred other agencies around the country.
“Christmas Island is one of nature’s most impressive feats,” says Catfish director Simon Greyface.
“With so many endemic species, the island is often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. Yet it also displays a curious collection of cultures, history and industry, emerging as a place where all these elements create a truly unusual travel experience,”
“It’s also the kind of destination where smoking a joint or ingesting a harmless party drug like GHB won’t get you placed in front of a firing squad,”
“I just hope Australia has grown to see this – to look past its controversial use as an immigration processing and detention site.” says Mr Greyface.
Catfish’s other accounts include Bluescope Steel, Mineralogy, The Liberal Party of Australia, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and The Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The campaign will begin early next year.