LOS ANGELES - As the date for the viral “Storm Area 51” raid draws nearer, residents in a small town just outside of the U.S. Air Force base in Nevada are being offered the chance to flee from the possible chaos and relax in Belize.
The Belize Tourism Board is offering 10 residents of Rachel, Nevada, a town of only 54, the chance at a free flight and hotel accommodations from Sept. 19-21.
“From one curious place to another: Residents of Rachel, NV, want to get out town during #StormArea51? Come relax in Belize while the chaos unfolds. Our treat,” the board tweeted Wednesday.
The Central American country is a popular tourist destination, with easy access to the South American jungles and the Caribbean Sea.
In order for Rachel residents to claim the offer, they must be at least 18 years old. Those interested must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide proof of legal residence. The deadline for the sweepstakes is 11:59 p.m. Aug. 8.
On Aug. 9, the 10 winners will be picked via a random drawing from the entries received. The winners will have to provide their travel information by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 11 in order to claim the prize.
The tiny town of Rachel has one 10-room motel known as the Little A’Le’Inn. Since the Facebook event went viral and garnered the interest of more than 1 million people, residents in the area have been apprehensive.
“It doesn’t stop, our phone won’t stop ringing,” Connie West, who is with the hotel, told the Las Vegas Sun. “It’s a little scary to think that many people could descend on a town of 54. How can you prepare?”
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said he doesn’t expect many people to actually show up to the scheduled Sept. 20 raid. But he said 500 or 1,000 visitors could create traffic, parking and congestion issues in such a small area.
The Facebook event was meant to be a joke and the man who posted the event under a meme account had no idea it would blow up the way it did.
Before Belize’s tourism board offered help to the residents of Rachel, Arby’s and Bud Light joined in on the phenomenon.
Area 51, also known as Homey Airport, is a remote outpost of the Edwards Air Force Base about 125 miles from Las Vegas. The purpose of the base – which has been the subject of decades-old conspiracy theories revolving around aliens – remains classified.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.