Last updated: 09:40 AM ET, Wed October 21 2015

One of the Most Isolated Islands On Earth is Set for a Tourism Boom

Destination & Tourism | Josh Lew | October 21, 2015

One of the Most Isolated Islands On Earth is Set for a Tourism Boom

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The name Pitcairn Island probably sounds vaguely familiar. It is the only inhabited island of a remote chain in the South Pacific, and the only remaining British territory in the region. The island was made famous by the crew of the HMS Bounty, the ship whose crew mutinied near here the late 1700s. The mutineers escaped and the survivors eventually made their way to Pitcairn.

Today, the island only has a small permanent population, and most of the people who live there are still related to the original settlers from the Bounty.

A paradise, but a very, very remote one

In many ways, Pitcairn is a paradise. The temperature rarely drops below 60 degrees F and every immigrant who wants to live here is promised a free plot of land by the government. Because of the sheer remoteness of the island, there have been few people willing to relocate. In fact, the permanent population has now shrunk to around 50 people.

Pitcairn has some rather unique demographics: many of the residents still have the last name “Christian” and are direct descendants of mutiny leader Fletcher Christian.

Despite its storied past, creating a tourism industry has been a challenge for the territory. The nearest airport is more than 300 miles away, so the only way to get to the island is by boat.

Even so, Pitcairn could be on the cusp of a tourism boom...

The term “boom” is relative. There is only one vessel that sails regularly to the island. The MV Claymore II, owned by a Kiwi shipping company, is a passenger and cargo vessel that makes trips to Pitcairn from French Polynesia. It is set to increase its number of voyages in 2016. Passengers can choose from one of twelve round trip cruises. As part of one of these trips, tourists will be able to stay on the island for between four and eleven days. Longer stays may also be offered

A few private commercial vessels make the 300-mile trip from Mangareva, French Polynesia, and it is possible to charter a yacht if money is no object. With increased private trips and more frequent service from the Claymore II, Pitcairn’s tourism authorities expect a 25 percent increase in the overall number of visitors.

A limited list of attractions, but an attractive remoteness

Bounty-related attractions, including a museum and the remains of the ship, are modest by international standards. The ship was picked over by divers before anyone thought about protecting it. The biggest draws are probably the remoteness and the nature. The island is, literally, in the middle of nowhere. It is roughly 3,500 miles from both New Zealand and Peru. Its sea caves, cliffs and rugged interior are attractive to adventure travelers and those who delight in being very, very far away from civilization. 

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