Herbert Ford, 559-592-0980, 559-732-0313.
WHILE SOME WORLD CECONOMIES SHRIVEL PITCAIRN ISLE ENJOYS ECONOMIC GROWTH
ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., August 4, 2010—While the economy of a number of the world’s major countries seems to be in decline, that of tiny, isolated Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific Ocean is thriving.
Pitcairn’s favorable economic outlook is due to a growth in tourism and exports that some feel could reverse the decades-long decline in the island’s population from a high of some 200 persons in the mid-1900s to today’s fewer than 50 Pitcairners.
Visits by cruise ships and increased scheduled ship service is driving the favorable economic climate of the tiny island, according to the Pitcairn Islands Study Center in California. The island is famous for being one of the world’s most isolated countries, and the hiding place of mutineers who revolted on the ship H.M.S. Bounty in the late 1700s.
More than half a dozen cruise ships carrying hundreds of passengers are scheduled to call at Pitcairn by early 2011. Three small, Pacific Ocean-based shipping firms are also likely to be carrying visitors to Pitcairn before the end of this year; two are currently in operation.
Persons arriving at the island by ship for visits of varying numbers of days pay about US$70 per day for board and room in island homes, Internet use, and guided ATV tours of the island.
Cruise ship passengers buy many of the island’s carved-wood flying fish, vases, bowls, Bounty and longboat models, walking sticks, and hand-woven hats, fans and tote bags.
Paintings and other forms of art work, decorated shirts, sweaters, caps, grass skirts, official-looking patches and pins are also popular cruise ship sellers.
A growing number of sales of island crafts and curios world-wide has come through Internet web sites now being used by nearly a dozen Pitcairn families. To their traditional crafts sales, the Pitcairners have recently added on-island and export sale of rare tapa cloth, honey, coffee, and island-designed black pearl jewelry.
Downtown Londoners can now buy Pitcairn Island coffee from United Kingdom exotic coffee importer Sea Island Coffee, while world-wide sale of pure Pitcairn honey and dehydrated fruits is seen in such widely scattered countries as New Zealand and Poland (at www.boutynmlvn.pl).
Pitcairn tapa, made from the bark of the Aute (paper mulberry) tree, is pounded and decorated in much the same way as did the Tahitian women consorts of the Bounty mutineers more than two centuries ago.
The sale of colorful Pitcairn postage stamps, unique “Hattie” leaves, CD’s of island music, maps, books and photographs rounds out the growing number of island offerings.