Easter Island to limit the number of visitors

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AFP
Easter Island to limit the number of visitors

They're known as the Moai statues, mysterious human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island between 1250 and 1500 and they attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

But now the island's mayor Petro Edmunds is worried about the negative effect tourism is having on the local population and a limit is now going to be put on how many tourists, as well as Chileans from the mainland, can visit.

Already visitors can only stay on the island for 30 days, down from 90 days.

At the last census in 2017, there were reportedly 7,750 people living on the Island which belongs to Chile and lies in the southwestern Pacific.

That's a doubling of the population in two decades but for mayor Petro Edmunds, even 3,000 is "too many."

"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," Edmunds told AFP.

Edmunds added that "customs from the continent" had begun to permeate the island and that this was "not positive".