Don’t come

By | Category: Travel destinations

During the worst days of the pandemic, we got used to destinations closing their borders and severely damaging their tourism industries in return for protecting the health of their inhabitants.

Even recently, people are finding more heads/statues on the island. Image – Municipalidad de Isla de Pascua

By now, few countries are completely closed dur solely to the pandemic although China is experiencing another refional lockdown as it tries to contriol the spread before the opening of the winter olympics.

But Easter Island, part of Chile, and its 7,000 plus inhabitants don’t want to open up to tourists yet. They have just been polled and a fraction over two-thirds of them don’t want visitors returning soon.

Yet this is an island where tourism is important, with visits being limited to no more than thirty days after legislation was passed in 2018 in an attempt to minimise the impact of overseas influences on the traditional community.

It is also one of the places that frequently appears on “must see” lists created by travellers and holidaymakers. Who amongst us does not immediately link the island with images of those iconic stone heads and statues?

Pre-pandemic it is believed that just under 100,000 people visited Easter Island (known as Rapa Nui – the indigenous name) each year, a figure some fourteen times the size of the population. (There is a local municipal website but the site is only in Spanish)

Obviously during the pandemic, Chilean lockdown rules and the fact that Easter Island is over 2,000 miles away from Chile itself, meant there were few visitors.

Now, even though visitors woulkd return some economic assistance to the islanders, the locals have decided the risks are too great yet Chile is one of the leaders in vaccination in the world. But I cannot find figures to see how many islanders have been vaccinated.

Therein might be part of the problem. Until the islanders deem it safe for visitors those of us who would like to see the over 800 striking heads (called moai) we will have to settle for image sand those plastic or stone figures that every garden centre seems to sell for you to place in your garden!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , ,