Easter Island is limiting the number of days tourists can stay

It's the latest tourist hotspot to try to minimise the adverse effects of mass tourism

Joanna Whitehead
Monday 30 July 2018 17:02 BST
Easter Island has nearly 1,000 moai statues
Easter Island has nearly 1,000 moai statues

Easter Island, home to the mysterious Moai statues, is reducing the number of days tourists can stay on the island from 90 to 30 days.

The decision has been made in an attempt to reduce the negative impact of tourism on the tiny island.

Social and environmental concerns have been cited as reasons behind the rule change.

At the last census in 2017, there were reportedly 7,750 people living on Easter Island, a figure almost double the population of 20 years previously, before the island was hit by a sharp increase in tourism and subsequent development.

According to the island’s mayor, Petro Edmunds, that number is 3,000 “too many”.

“Foreigners are already taking over the island. They’re damaging the local idiosyncrasy, the 1,000-year culture is changing and not for the good,” Edmunds told AFP.

Edmunds was also reported to say that “customs from the continent” had begun to permeate the island and that this was “not positive”.

The environmental impact of the increase in visitors is also being felt.

A decade ago, the island produced 1.4 metric tons of waste per year, but that figure has almost doubled to 2.5 tons today, according to Digital Journal.

Ana Maria Gutierrez, the local government’s environmental advisor, told APF that “environmentally, the island is very fragile.”

The ruling, which is due to be implemented from Wednesday 1 August, includes Chileans who are not part of the island’s indigenous population, the Rapa Nui people.

On arrival, tourists will be required to present their hotel reservation or an invitation from a resident.

A limit to the number of visitors allowed on the island will also be introduced, although this figure is yet to be confirmed.

Edmunds said he would prefer a “total” ban on the arrival of new residents, but conceded that the legislation was “a good start”.

The enigmatic island, located 2,185 miles from the Chilean mainland, has been ruled by Chile since 1888 and was run as a sheep farm by a Scottish company until 1953.

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