Australia wants to turn Manus Island into a tourism destination

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Australia wants to turn Manus Island into a tourism destination


A new scheme from the Australian Government will aim to develop a tourism industry on Manus Island. Yep, the very same Papua New Guinean island it currently detains asylum seekers on. 

The government is funding a new study that will review Manus Island’s holiday potential, allocating a cool $146,000 to an advisory role that’ll identify Manus’ “strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities for growth”.

Here’s how we imagine that report might go down. Strengths: sunny, has beaches, surrounded by water. Weaknesses: over 600 refugees still detained in detention, in which over four have died. 

The appointed advisor will also be tasked with creating a snazzy new website for sunny Manus Island. You can have a squizz at the current one — which describes the isolated island as “splendid” — here

It’s also worth noting the number of asylum seekers who have been victims of violent assault during their detention. 

Currently, Manus Island has just two hotels. One of them exclusively houses guards who work at the detention centre. 

“Manus Island is not…only the detention centre. It’s a big place,” said chief executive of PNG’s Tourism Promotion Authority Jerry Agus. 

Australia’s offshore processing refugee policy has left thousands of people seeking asylum in indefinite detention for years. 

So, here we are. It’s 2018 and the Australian Government seems more concerned with making Manus Island a destination for cheap getaways and schoolies trips than actually dealing with the consistent breaches of human rights that happen under their supervision.