Mounting financial losses have forced closure of scuba diving at Bikini Atoll — the premier tourist destination in the Marshall Islands — after 13 years of operations.
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this letter.
After 13 great-though-challenging years as one of the premier wreck diving and fishing tourism sites in the Pacific, Bikini Atoll will be closed to tourists as of June 11, 2008 (the last week of customers will be June 4-11).
We have made this decision due to the situation of our local airline, Air Marshalls, and also because of the rapid rise in the world price of fuel, which has made all of our operating expenses just skyrocket beyond our means.
In August of this year our local government, during our annual budget meeting, will decide whether or not we can afford to open Bikini Atoll in 2009. At this point in time, given the challenges our trust fund is facing because of the recent poor performance of the US stock market and a recession-bound US economy, the prospect of opening next year appears very doubtful. This news has been very hard on the Bikinian leaders and our people as all of the proceeds from the operation have gone toward purchasing food for our communities on Kili Island, Ejit Island and Majuro Atoll.
We would like to take this time to thank our staff on Bikini Atoll for being patient over the last 7 months that saw our operation have only one week of visitors, and a one week visit by Paul Allen's mega-yacht, MY Octopus. We would also like to thank all of the people and organizations over the years that have helped support us in this truly amazing endeavor that opened up a fantastic diving and fishing destination for the world.
Hopefully, sometime in the future, there will be in an email in your inbox saying that Bikini Atoll has been reopened for tourists. Until then, God bless.
Tourism Operations Manager for
the Bikini Atoll Local Government
please email email@example.com for more information