The home of famous Moai statues will reduce the time tourists can spend on its soil from 90 to 30 days
As overtourism has become a negative trend of recent years, another popular destination has decided to implement measures against it.
From this Wednesday, Easter Island, a place known for its mysterious Moai statues, will reduce the time visitors can spend on its soil from 90 to 30 days.
Local government has based the decision on concerns that tourism is having a negative impact on both the environment and the social structure on the island.
“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,” the island’s mayor, Petro Edmunds, told the AFP.
The island has been under the rule of Chile since 1888. Despite being located some 3,500 kilometres from the mainland, the popularity of the destination has increased significantly.
According to Easter Island government’s environmental advisor, Ana Maria Gutierrez, the situation has also led to a significant increase in waste. While ten years ago the waste reached 1.4 metric tonnes per year per inhabitant, now it is around 2.5 tonnes.
“Environmentally the island is very fragile,” she said.
The new rules imposed by the local government will also restrict new-coming residents. Everyone willing to live on the island would have to prove to be either a parent, partner or child of someone from the Rapa Nui people, the island’s indigenous population.
Public servants and employees of organizations that provide services to the government will be allowed to stay on the island as well.
Tourists visiting the location will have to present either their hotel reservation or an invitation from a resident on arrival. The government will later decide on the maximum number of visitors allowed on the island at the same time.
Easter Island is not the only destination that struggles with an influx of tourists. Recently, Boracay island in the Philippines was closed completely while in Thailand, the authorities decided to close the Maya Bay beach to protect its marine life.