Easter Island Votes Against Reopening to Tourists

The famous Easter Island statues

© Shutterstock

easter-island-against-reopening-tourists

The famous Easter Island statues

© Shutterstock

The inhabitants of Easter Island, famous for its giant stone statues, have voted in a referendum not to reopen to tourists – for now. Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, is a 166 sq km dot in the South Pacific Ocean, making it one of the world's most remote inhabited islands.

67% of Rapa Nui voted against lifting the tourist restrictions that were put in place at the start of the Covid pandemic, news agencies reported. Easter Island is a dependency of Chile, which lies 3,700 kilometres to the east.

No Covid for a year

Eight Covid cases have been registered on Easter Island to date, but there have been no new infections since September 2020. 73 percent of the nearly 10,000 strong population on Easter Island have been vaccinated against Covid.

However, the hospital in the town of Hanga Roa does not have an intensive care unit. Despite its isolation, nearly 100,000 travellers visited the island each year prior to the pandemic. The moai sculptures, which date back as far as the 11th century and are up to 11 metres high, are the chief attraction along with its rugged coastline.

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