Chile limits access to Easter Island

Too many hotels, too many tourists, too much garbage: The indigenous people of the Chilean Easter Island complain about the number of visitors. By law, Chile is now regulating access.

Due to the huge number of tourists on the Chilean Easter Island, access will be restricted from now on. “This island is magical, everyone wants to visit it,” said Chilean leader Sebastián Piñera on Wednesday (local time) the news channel “24 Horas” on the island, which is located about 3,500 kilometers off the southeast coast of Chile. At the same time, Easter Island is in need of protection.

Therefore, on Wednesday, a law came into force that reduces the maximum stay of tourists on Easter Island from 90 to 30 days. In addition, visitors from home and abroad must meet the following requirements to travel to the island with the famous giant stone statues called Moaï: You must fill in a form for your visit, make a hotel reservation or an invitation from an islander and her back and forth return tickets.

Settling permanently on the island now only members or spouses of Rapanui, the indigenous people of Easter Island. Otherwise, only civil servants, employees of institutions working on behalf of the Chilean state, and people doing independent economic activity may live with their families on the island.

The Rapanui complain that more and more strangers are coming to Easter Island, thereby displacing their culture and consuming the resources of the island. “The foreigners are about to take control of the island,” said Island Mayor Pedro Pablo Edmunds Paoa.

The increasing development of the island, especially with hotels, also threatens the fauna and flora. And by the tourists the garbage mountains grow on the island. Ten years ago, it was 1.4 tons of waste per year, today it is 2.5 tons.

Every year, 116,000 tourists visit Easter Island. The population has doubled within a few decades. Of the 7,750 permanent residents, 40 percent are Rapanui.

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