Christmas Island is bracing itself for the ripple effect that stopping asylum seeker boats will have on its people and economy.

Administrator of Island Territories Jon Stanhope says the island's population could effectively halve if the detention centre on the island is closed.

There are currently just under 2000 permanent residents on the island plus another 500 fly-in fly-out workers.

When the number of boat arrivals slowed about eight years ago the island's population dropped to around 800, Mr Stanhope said.

The coalition's plan to resettle asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea and stop boats coming to Christmas Island is a threat to the community's future.

Mr Stanhope said while Christmas Island residents had differing views on asylum seekers, there was a common understanding the island's economy would be severely impacted if they stopped coming.

A bigger emphasis needed to be placed on developing the island's ailing tourism sector to protect it from going broke, he said.

"The great challenge is to try to protect the economy from such boom and bust. It is imperative that we strengthen tourism," Mr Stanhope said.

Mr Stanhope met on Friday with a delegation of federal election candidates from mining magnate Clive Palmer's party which wants all remote detention centres such as Christmas island closed.

The Palmer United Party (PUP) revealed its asylum seeker policy on Friday during a fact-finding mission to Christmas Island.

The party wants to set up processing centres at Australian airports in an effort to stop asylum seekers coming by boat.

PUP candidate for Moreton, Jeremy Davey, concedes the policy could see a surge in asylum seekers wanting to test the system.

"For an $800 flight you might want to try your luck," the former naval officer told AAP.

"(Arrivals) will invariably increase but we will be stringent in who we do and don't accept into the country."

Mr Davey argued the policy would save taxpayers billions of dollars by cutting down security and processing costs associated with boat arrivals.

Seven PUP candidates, from Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory, have taken part in the party's mission to Christmas Island, arriving on Mr Palmer's private jet.

The billionaire himself, however, did not attend.

 

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