A private island is a disconnected body of land wholly owned by a private citizen or corporation. Although this exclusivity gives the owner substantial control over the property, private islands remain under the jurisdiction of national and sometimes local governments.
Ownership [ edit ]
Virtually all islands in the world are claimed and governed by some national government. That nation's laws apply, and any attempt by the owner to claim sovereignty would generally be unrealistic. Nevertheless, some people still try to set up their own micronations on islands, like real-estate millionaire Michael Oliver's attempt at building a libertarian city-state called the Republic of Minerva in the southern Pacific Ocean. There are widely varying government policies regarding private islands: for instance, islands off the coast of China, like any other land within the country, cannot be purchased outright, but only leased from the government for a maximum period of 50 years.
"Private" islands in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Chile and some other countries are not legally entirely private – any foreshore, such as a beach, is owned by the government, and is hence publicly accessible property, despite what the owners of the land on the island may wish to claim. The same applies to freedom to roam in Nordic countries: only the yard of a house and the immediate vicinity is legally protected against trespassing, and the water bodies around the island are freely navigable.
There are many thousands of uninhabited islands in the world with potential for commercial development of tourist resorts or private recreational use. Some islands can be bought undeveloped, while others already have roads and/or houses. Islands are also available for rent. Many celebrities have their own private islands.
Commercial development of uninhabited islands can raise ecological concerns, as many have a fragile environment.
Cruise lines [ edit ]
Since 1992 a number of cruise lines have acquired “private islands” to offer their customers exclusive beach experiences. Such islands (or sections thereof) were further developed to have restaurants and perhaps additional attractions such as parasailing, waterparks, zip lines, horseback riding, spas and more. Some islands have piers, others are reached by tender. The purchase of an island allows the cruise line to achieve greater control over the venue and to influence the quality of experience of their passengers. Certain private islands may be used not only by the cruise line that bought the property but also by associated lines.
List of "private islands" of cruise lines [ edit ]
- Castaway Cay, owner Disney Cruise Line, pier access
- Labadee, Haiti, a peninsula, owner Royal Caribbean Cruises, pier access
- Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, owner Norwegian Cruise Line
- Little Stirrup Cay (Coco Cay), Bahamas, owner Royal Caribbean Cruises, pier access
- Harvest Caye, Belize, owner Norwegian Cruise Line
- Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, owner Holland America Line
- Princess Cays, part of Eleuthera, Bahamas, owner Princess Cruises, bought in 1992
- Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Bahamas, MSC Cruises
- Sir Bani Yas Island 'Beach Oasis' at Sir Bani Yas, Abu Dhabi, MSC Cruises
Real estate [ edit ]
The real estate market for private islands varies globally. Prices tend to be lower in Nova Scotia, parts of Michigan and Maine, and parts of Central America; and higher in Europe, the Bahamas, and Oceanic countries like French Polynesia. Islands with amenities have higher market value and are not sold as frequently. Some are available for travelers to rent, a trend which increased in the 2000s with economic recession making it more difficult for some owners to maintain them.
In the 2000s, the United States housing bubble increased the cost-per-acre for private islands. The effect was fueled by the advent of the Internet, which provided greater access to island inventories. Conservation groups' efforts to restrict development reduced the supply of private islands in the market, raising prices.
Southeast Asia has numerous islands, with Indonesia being an archipelago of 17,000 islands and the Philippines having around 7,100. Real estate laws restrict foreigners' ability to buy property in the geographical area, and many islands either have unclear ownership rights or are already settled. Private islands that are available in Southeast Asia's real estate market are also prohibitively costly due to being in high demand by hotel developers. Developments address these difficulties by selling private islands that have villas and neighbor islands that have high-end hotels; the proximity keeps costs of habitation down.
Europe has hundreds of thousands of islands many of which are privately owned. With 17,000 islands in Finland, 221,831 islands in Sweden and thousands in Croatia, Europe is increasingly becoming a hotspot for private island holidays. Many islands, although privately owned, are not suitable for development due to legal and governmental restrictions or due to the physical characteristics of the island.
The Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic feature a number of private islands typically run as sheep raising family farms and tourist destinations. Prominent among these is Weddell Island, one of the largest private islands in the world with a surface area of 265.8 km2 (102.6 sq mi). While the Hawaiian island of Lanai is still bigger at 364 km2 (141 sq mi), technically it might not qualify as part of its territory (about 2%) does not belong to the principal owner.
List of high profile island owners [ edit ]
- Gianni Agnelli, Estate of – Dino Island off the Calabria
- Pamela Anderson – Greece in The World, United Arab Emirates
- Bacardi family – Near Grenada
- Amar Desai - Nova Scotia, Canada
- Louis Bacon - Robins Island
- Sir Richard Branson – Necker Island & Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands; and Makepeace Island Australia.
- Raymond Burr – Naitoumba, Fiji
- Beyoncé and Jay Z – Florida
- Nicolas Cage – Leaf Cay, Bahamas
- David Copperfield – Musha Cay, Bahamas
- Edward de Bono – Green Island – Australia, Tessera – Italy, Reklusia – Bahamas.
- Johnny Depp – Little Hall's Pond Cay, Bahamas.
- Arnaud Henry Salas-Perez Prince Obolensky - Island of Patroklos, Greece.
- Leonardo DiCaprio – Blackadore Caye, Belize
- Celine Dion – Île Gagnon, Quebec.
- Larry Ellison – 98% of Lanai, one of the Hawaiian Islands.
- Jeffrey Epstein – owned Little Saint James, U.S. Virgin Islands until his death in 2019
- Disney family – Echo Island, San Juan Islands, Washington, USA
- Du Pont family – Cherry Island, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA
- Errol Flynn – Navy Island, Port Antonio, Jamaica
- Mel Gibson – Mago Island, Fiji
- Bear Grylls – St. Tudwal's Island West, Wales, UK
- Gene Hackman – Fawn Island, San Juan Islands, Washington State, USA
- Nick Hexum – Melody Key, Florida
- Faith Hill and Tim McGraw – Bahamas
- Jim Jannard - Kaibu Island & Vatu Vara Island, Fiji; and Spieden Island, San Juan Islands, Washington State, USA
- Dean Kamen – North Dumpling Island, New York, USA
- John Lennon – Dorinish Island in Clew Bay, County Mayo, Ireland
- Ricky Martin – Angra dos Reis, Brazil
- Dietrich Mateschitz – Laucala, Fiji
- Eddie Murphy – Rooster Cay, Bahamas
- Peter Nygård – Nygard Cay, Bahamas
- Aristotle Onassis – Skorpios Island, Greece
- Michael Ondaatje – Several islands, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada 
- Roberto Ongpin – Balesin Island, in Polillo, Quezon, Philippines
- Cristiano Ronaldo – Deserta Island, in Ria Formosa, Portugal
- Baron Rothschild – Bell Island, Bahamas
- Ted Turner – St. Phillips Island, South Carolina, USA
- Robin Williams – Pender Harbour, British Columbia, Canada 
See also [ edit ]
- Desert island
- List of islands
- List of uninhabited regions
- Phantom island
- Principality of Sealand
- Category:Uninhabited islands
References [ edit ]
- "Lomahaku". MTV.fi. Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Fung, Serena (2019-10-11). "Top 10 Private Islands". Destination Deluxe. Retrieved 2020-08-21.
- "Celebrities Who Own Private Islands!". Directory Journal. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- Michael Zehender (January 30, 2017). "Privatinseln der Kreuzfahrt-Reedereien Wenn die Weltmeere nicht genug sind" (in German). Der Spiegel. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- Selinsky, Debbie (March 1996). "'Private' Island?". Cruise Travel. ISSN 0199-5111.
- Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia (November 1, 2008). "An Island of One's Own". Newsweek.
- Marino, Vivian (September 25, 2005). "The Allure of Buying Your Own Private Island". The New York Times.
- Vatner, Jonathan (January 3, 2010). "Island Hopping to Your Own Island". The New York Times.
- McMillan, Alex Frew (November 25, 2008). "Buying a private piece of paradise". The New York Times.
- "Visiwa Private Islands for rent in Europe – Island Holiday". Visiwa. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- H. Pichon, N. Rolland and N. Orlova. D2.1.1 Inventory Report. European Coastal Erosion database. European Commission, 2002. p. 122
- C. O’Connor. Is Larry Ellison's $500 Million Hawaiian Island The World's Most Expensive? Forbes, 21 June 2012
- "Makepeace Island Noosa, Luxury Accommodation, Private Island Noosa". Makepeace Island. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Australia: Richard Branson opens new Makepeace Island luxury resort to the public". Privateislandnews.com. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2013. [permanent dead link]
- "Nicholas Cage - Leaf Cay, Bahamas", Private Island Magazine
- "Musha Cay". Musha Cay. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Leonardo DiCaprio – Blackadore Cay, Belize | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Celine Dion – Île Gagnon, Quebec | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Nick Hexum 311 – Melody Key, Florida | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "John Lennon's Irish "Beatle Island" | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013. [dead link]
- "Ricky Martin– Island in Angra dos Reis, Brazil | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Eddie Murphy – Rooster Cay, Bahamas | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Peter Nygard– Nygard Cay, Bahamas | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Aristotle Onassis – Skorpios Island, Greece | Private Islands Magazine". Privateislandsmag.com. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2013.