Rapa Nui: opening of the island will be on August 1

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After little more than two years with its borders closed, this Friday the Government announced that the opening of Rapa Nui will be on Monday, August 1, 2022.

The announcement was made through the various ministries involved: National Assets, Health, Economy, Public Works, Social Development and Family and Interior and in coordination with the authorities and various local stakeholders. Latam was also involved in the decision, which is the airline that operates the routes that connect to the island.

This will require the deployment by said ministries of a series of actions for a responsible opening, the Ministry of Economy said in a statement.

In this way, improvements will be enabled both in the infrastructure of the Mataveri airport and in the health infrastructure in order to have an adequate response to the detection of Covid-19 cases on the island.

Also, initiatives will be carried out to support economic development, promotion of tourism, enabling the conditions of service of hotels, lodging and restaurants, and support for MiPymes that have been unable to carry out their commercial activity.

It is worth mentioning that tourism is the main economic activity of the island and that, annually, there were about 150 thousand tourists who visited the place. Thus, since March 17, 2020 – the date on which the borders were closed – the island was involved in a complex economic situation.

Previously, in November 2021, the Piñera government had reached an agreement with the municipality of Rapa Nui to reopen its borders to tourism in February of this year, despite the fact that the locals -in an autonomous consultation- had voted in their majority who did not want to reopen the border at the time.

The process of opening borders will be carried out gradually. In this sense, until August 1, the flow of flights -one a week- and the restricted entry of passengers will be maintained, but exceptions will be established in relation to the mandatory quarantine.

Then, as of August 1, an increase in the flow of flights will be allowed -which will be two or three weekly flights, depending on the epidemiological situation- and opening to tourism.

To protect the inhabitants of the island from the entry of Covid-19, an 80% vaccination coverage rate must be reached. To this end, the Government will deploy campaigns to achieve this objective. Testing, traceability and isolation will also be reinforced.

Likewise, health residences will be set up on the island to respond to the new demand. In turn, active case limits will be established so that alerts are triggered to prepare closure measures if the epidemiological situation so requires.

Regarding the economic reactivation of Rapa Nui, the government’s Chile Supports inclusive recovery plan contemplates the delivery of a subsidy to support the MiPymes that have been most affected by the pandemic. For its part, the Undersecretary of Tourism and Sernatur will develop promotional campaigns and coordinate the tourist offer of the island.

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