Visitors to Chile’s Easter Island will face new restrictions for traveling and staying on the island, local authorities have said in a measure endorsed by the country’s President Sebastian Pinera
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The move which is aimed at protecting both the natural environment and island heritage was announced Wednesday. "It is a magical island, we all want to visit it, but it is also a sensitive island and therefore we have to take care of it," Pinera said, speaking on the country’s 24-hour news channel.
Chile now decided to limit the time outsiders can stay on the volcanic island, cutting it from 90 to 30 days. The measure applies not only to foreign tourists but also to Chileans who are not the part of the native Rapa Nui population.
Tourists are now required to fill out a special form, show return tickets, and present a document confirming a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation from an islander. The restrictions would not apply to parents, partners or children of the Rapa Nui people.
Authorities would also exempt civil servants, people working for the companies who provide services to the state, and people who develop an independent economic activity with their families.
The volcanic island is known for its giant stone statues, Moai, built by the Indigenous Rapa Nui people. In 1722, Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen became the first European to visit the Pacific island located some 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) west of Chilean mainland.