Easter Island, Chile’s most mysterious area with its spectacular landscapes and world-known Moai statues, will reopen to travellers after two years of complete closure. The Government of Chile, regional authorities as well as involved local stakeholders and LATAM airlines agreed on the opening of Rapa Nui on Monday, August 1, 2022.
Easter Island is opening back again to the world but Chilean authorities want to be in full control of the island’s reopening. A series of concrete actions will accompany a responsible opening process that, while reconnecting the people of Easter Island with the rest of the world, also protects them from the threat of the pandemic.
Improvements will be made both to the infrastructure of Mataveri airport and – given the pandemic context – to the health infrastructure to enable an adequate response to the detection of Covid cases on the island. Initiatives will also be implemented to support economic development, promote tourism, improve the service conditions of hotels, accommodation and restaurants, and support MSMEs that have been unable to carry out their commercial activity.
The process will be gradual: from August 1, the number of flights will be increased to two or three frequencies a week, depending on the epidemiological situation. The opening to tourism will be allowed under conditions of an 80% vaccine coverage of the population. This number is needed to protect islanders from the entry of Covid-19. Testing, traceability and isolation will also be strengthened. PCR and antigen testing capacity will be strengthened.
Meanwhile, Chile’s Undersecretary of Tourism and Chile national tourism agency Sernatur will develop special promotional campaigns and coordinate the island’s tourism offer. Dialogue has been opened to “find a solution to the territorial conflict that has existed for over 50 years” between the state and the local community. But also to take in consideration the demand of locals for a strict control of the number of coming tourists to preserve the uniqueness of the island. Financial support will also help local small business to restart again their activities.
Prior to the pandemic, Easter Island used to welcome some 50,000 travellers on an annual basis.