If you had hopes of bidding for your own untouched Indonesian island at an auction in New York this month, you’re out of luck.
At least for the time being.
The Indonesian government has cancelled a company’s licence to
develop a coral atoll archipelago, the Widi Islands, that was due to be
auctioned by Sotheby’s.
The government blamed a “procedural error” for granting the licence
to develop the islands as an eco-resort but has indicated it will
revisit the licence application for other small islands in eastern
Mahfud MD, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal,
and security affairs, reportedly said this week, “The [agreement] should
have been approved by the marine [affairs] and fisheries minister,” he
The Widi Islands lie in a protected marine reserve and news of the
Sotheby’s auction brought protests from environmental groups.
A company called Leadership Islands Indonesia (LII) had in 2015
struck an agreement with the government in North Maluku province to
manage and develop the state-owned islands and planned to turn them into
“one of the world’s most sustainable luxury travel destinations”.
LII also had plans for an airstrip to connect the islands to Singapore, Bali and Cairns, among other places.
Mahfud, the Indonesian minister, has been quoted as saying the
government will open investment opportunities “to use the outer
“If LIl is interested, it is welcome, as long as [everybody] follows the existing regulations,” he said.