What started out as a viral Facebook stunt has turned into potentially the next Fyre Festival. After more than two million people RSVP’d for “Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop All of Us” — and Facebook removed the event page for “violating Facebook’s community standards” before claiming that was a mistake and republishing the page — Matty Roberts, the man behind the event, is reportedly turning his viral success into a three-day festival called Alien Stock.
Raid on Area 51 or three-day festival for E.T. fans, the fact remains the small town at the center of this opportunistic gimmick is still woefully unprepared for a massive tourism spike. Residents of Rachel, Nevada, have expressed their concerns and fear over the massive response to the September 20 event, since the town only has 54 residents.
Fortunately for those concerned people, Belize’s tourism board offered an escape plan — a free trip to Belize for up to 10 residents.
“We felt a kinship to the people of Rachel because their town — like our country — is a curious place,” Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism for the Belize Tourism Board, explained. “While tourism in Belize has increased significantly over the past few years, we have the industry, infrastructure and resources to support it. If the people of Rachel would rather avoid the chaos — which they certainly didn’t ask for — we welcome them to Belize with open arms.”
Winners will soon be chosen, with the lucky residents receiving free hotel accommodations and airfare to the Central American nation from Sept. 19-21.
Aliens and conspiracy theories have always been part of Rachel’s charm, as the town’s one inn is appropriately named The Little A’Le’Inn. Connie West owns the alien-themed establishment, which, according to its website, is “BOOKED SOLID FOR ALIEN-STOCK.”
She told the Associated Press last month: “It’s a little scary to think that many people could descend on a town of 54. How can you prepare?” Still, she later admitted to the Washington Post, “I’m excited, how can I not be?”
Whether her fellow residents agree with her will be revealed by how many spend that weekend on Ambergris Caye.