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Easter Island reopens to tourists after more than two years

Easter Island reopens to tourists after more than two years
The island is located in the Pacific ocean off the coast of Chile

The remote island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, has reopened to international travellers after being closed to tourists for more than two years.

On 4 August, the Pacific island welcomed 230 tourists after 868 days of border closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the world’s most isolated travel destinations, Rapa Nui is most famous for its ‘Moai’ guardian statues, ancestral figures carved from volcanic rock between 1250 and 1500 AD.

Tourists who want to visit one of the last places in the world to ease Covid travel restrictions, must present a negative PCR, taken no later than 24 hours before boarding.

Meanwhile any children under the age of six need to arrive with a negative antigen test. All visitors to Easter Island must also be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The island’s tourist board is “very happy” to announce its reopening to the world.

Its undersecretary of tourism, Verónica Kunze, said: “We are very happy that the island is starting this new stage of reopening. Most tourist services are ready to welcome visitors, maintaining appropriate hygiene protocols and with the hope of reactivating their businesses.”

“Expectations are high, people are happy and pleased to finally have their bridge open, not only to welcome guests, which is necessary for the economy, but also to have that sense of freedom to be able to leave and return from the island,” added the mayor of Rapa Nui, Pedro Edmunds.

Rapa Nui is located in a very isolated position, 1,200 miles (1,900 km) east of Pitcairn Island and 2,200 miles (3,540 km) west of Chile.

Flights from the Chilean capital of Santiago take about 5 hours and 40 minutes.

As well as the new Covid regulations, visitors to Rapa Nui must also comply with administrative requirements which have been in force since 2018.

These include completing the Single Entry Form to Easter Island and being in possession of a valid passport, a return ticket, and a reservation in tourist accommodation. They are also not permitted to stay any longer than 30 days on the island.

The South Pacific nation of Vanuatu also recently opened on 1 July after a 27-month closure due to Covid.

Meanwhile, the south Asian nation of Bhutan will not reopen until September, at which point it will raise its daily tourism fee.

Meanwhile, countries including Japan, China and Taiwan are still yet to open fully to international tourists; Britons may visit Japan on an organised, government-approved group tour but may not travel there as individuals.