Home to around 380 people, there are only 400 licensed tourist beds on Lord Howe, meaning only a limited number of visitors can take a trip to the island at any given time. As a result, the island’s tourist accommodations are mainly bed and breakfasts and cottages. There are just a handful of hotels.
The cap is controlled by “bed licenses,” issued by Lord Howe’s governing board. (Only 400 bed licenses are doled out per year, and they’re reportedly pricey, costing up to $100,000 each, according to Islands, an online travel publication.)
The tourist cap was one of several measures put in place to protect the island’s delicate ecosystem, which is instrumental in conserving threatened species on the island, especially birds (like the flightless Lord Howe Woodhen, which was reportedly once regarded as one of the rarest birds in the world). Lord Howe Island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage property in 1982.