• Easter Island turned extra self-sufficient in the course of the pandemic, counting on one another and the land fairly than tourism and outdoors assets.
  • Residents acknowledged the significance of preserving their archaeological heritage, together with the deteriorating moai statues, no matter vacationers’ affect.
  • Flights to Easter Island stay restricted, emphasizing the necessity for steadiness and the potential for the island to revive its tradition with out relying closely on tourism.

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as locals confer with their homeland, determined in 2020 to close down the island to guests. On condition that 75% of the economic system was tourist-based, this meant that the cash that residents have been accustomed to creating was gone with out warning. However with extraordinarily restricted hospital house, leaders of Easter Island knew they wanted to isolate themselves to return out of the pandemic as unscathed as doable.

Fully stopping tourism and even a lot of the provide deliveries from mainland Chile meant that residents of Easter Island needed to not solely depend on each other however depend on the land in a manner that had not been finished in generations. This meant rising meals and catching fish from the ocean. It meant serving to out these in the neighborhood who have been struggling. For the primary time in over 70 years, when the primary aircraft got here to Easter Island, residents have been utterly shut off from the skin world.


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In August 2022, vacationers have been allowed to return to the island once more and stay in the top-rated hotels located there. They acquired to see what distant Easter Island was like following two years of pandemic isolation. What has been seen is that residents of Easter Island thrived in methods they didn’t know doable in the course of the pandemic and have made Easter Island higher for it.

Easter Island Grew to become Extra Self-Adequate Thanks To Umanga

Easter Island discovered to depend on themselves extra and the skin world much less throughout and after the pandemic

Moai in the Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island, Chile

Moai within the Rapa Nui Nationwide Park, Easter Island, Chile

When the individuals of Easter Island have been requested to shut down fundamental vacationer areas in addition to the island itself throughout COVID, they knew life was going to get laborious. Simply how laborious it was for some residents couldn’t have been imagined.

However when individuals got here collectively and helped their neighbors by way of the spirit of umanga, or the enjoyment of working collectively for a typical purpose, life turned bearable. The group additionally turned extra self-sufficient in consequence.

By overcoming the huge unemployment on the island and thru residents counting on each other — to not point out the federal government subsidies that allowed them to develop completely different crops in 1,300 gardens across the island — the Rapa Nui individuals acknowledged that they have been dropping the flexibility to be self-sufficient.

Not solely have been they counting on the Chilean authorities for provides, however in addition they relied closely on vacationers coming to the island.

It turned very clear, in a short time in the course of the pandemic that the residents of the island had “gone the wrong direction” over the years. Changing into extra self-sufficient was one thing the federal government required to be finished as quickly as doable.


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“We have been flawed, we have been going within the flawed course and the pandemic made us notice that,” Mayor Edmonds Paoa defined. “We got here to the conclusion that tourism had blinded us. We have been being a bit hypocritical by telling what the island was about with out truly dwelling it ourselves.”

Due to this, sustainability has turn out to be the bar to be achieved on Easter Island. One thing that may already be seen by crops which can be being served within the eating places across the island, fairly than requiring provides from Chile to make a menu for vacationers to take pleasure in.

Extra crops are additionally being given to charities across the island to assist residents who want some help as they get again on their ft.

Preservation Of Archeological Heritage Grew to become Necessary To Residents Of Easter Island

Residents need to defend the moai, no matter the way it impacts vacationers

Sunrise over Easter Island
Picture by Antonio Sánchez on Unsplash

Dawn over Easter Island

The Rapa Nui individuals have all the time been very protecting of one of many cultural treasures of Chile, and that’s the moai on the island. Whereas some are prominently featured in documentaries or tourism pamphlets, what individuals may not know about the moai is that there are almost 900 statues which can be discovered throughout Easter Island.

Lots of the moai have been part of the tradition since 1400 AD. Whereas some have been destroyed centuries in the past on account of tribal warfare, with the assistance of some restoration, the moai have been pretty well-preserved. Or so it was believed.

Nevertheless, on account of local weather change, inflicting extra hurricanes, flooding, and sea degree modifications, the moai are deteriorating at a fast tempo. An enormous fireplace on Easter Island in 2021 exacerbated the problem and greater than ever, the Rapa Nui individuals needed to protect their archeological heritage.

Unfortunately, there is no plan in place to do so. It’s because “there’s a lack of consensus among the many Rapa Nui about the best way to protect the moai.”


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This case is irritating for Pedro Edmunds Paoa, the mayor of Easter Island. Particularly with extra of the moai being destroyed because the years go by. Edmonds Paoa believes that the tourists who come to the island should not be taken into consideration in the case of saving the moai, calling the price of the moai “incalculable.”

“Any longer the vacationer should turn out to be a pal of the place, whereas earlier than they have been visiting foreigners,” Edmonds Paoa defined. As such if it means placing “glass domes” over the moai to protect them for future generations of the Rapa Nui individuals, then Edmond Paoa believes it must be finished.

Flights Are Nonetheless Restricted To Easter Island

Flights will proceed to be restricted to Easter Island indefinitely

Moai on Easter Island in Rapa Nui, Chile

Moai on Easter Island in Rapa Nui, Chile

Earlier than the pandemic, there have been 10 weekly flights to Easter Island. Moreover, there have been constitution planes and cruise ships that introduced in vacationers as nicely.

These flights helped greater than 150,000 guests come to the island yearly and gave the island over $120 million in tourism {dollars}, based on El Pais. This was good from the standpoint of lining the pockets of the residents. However when it got here to preserving the tradition of Easter Island, it was destroying it.

Due to this, something to know before going to Easter Island is that there are actually solely two weekly flights to Easter Island. Whereas there could also be extra sooner or later, island leaders imagine that there must be steadiness. It’s extremely unlikely that the variety of folks that come to Easter Island within the upcoming years will ever attain pre-pandemic ranges.

Nevertheless, as a result of the Rapa Nui individuals have discovered to depend on themselves extra during the last couple of years and fewer on outdoors assets, they could not want as many vacationers to return to the island. This may occasionally assist to revive a number of the tradition misplaced through the years and produce the individuals of Easter Island nearer to their ancestors than many have ever been earlier than.

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