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Cancellation of flights to/from Easter Island (IPC) [merged thread]

Cancellation of flights to/from Easter Island (IPC) [merged thread]

Old Oct 19, 2021, 11:07 am
  #76  
 
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News of a referendum on Easter Island to allow tourists back

I am copying and pasting the Google translation of an article published in "La Tercera" yesterday. Although their stats wouldn't appear to be up-to-date, the rest of the article makes for very interesting reading.

"And when Easter Island? Community will carry out autonomous consultation for opening to tourism


Vaccination coverage barely reaches 56% in Rapa Nui and 80% must be reached to think about reopening the air and maritime borders. The authorities plan to receive visitors from January, but local spirits are divided and not everyone is inclined to exploit the area for tourism purposes. Therefore, on Sunday the residents will vote to know the majority position on the fate of the island territory.

17 months ago Easter Island closed its borders to tourism and more than a year has passed without cases of Covid-19. In all this time, only residents have been in and out on humanitarian flights, and a few groups have traveled on cargo planes from Latam.That could change from January . This has been proposed by the Rapa Nui provincial presidential delegate, Ren de la Puente; Mayor Pedro Edmunds and Valparaso Health Minister, Georg Hbner, who agreed on the date as the "initial goal" to resume routine flights to reactivate local tourism.That, as long as 80% of the population is vaccinated. But to date, only 56% of the adults in Rapa Nui have received the two doses (just over four thousand people), very far from the national reality, where 89% of the target population already has their complete guideline.

And the panorama is as complex as it is uncertain. Not all Rapanui are prone to exploiting the area for tourist purposes. Therefore, on October 24, an autonomous consultation will be held, which seeks to collect the position of residents on the reopening.

The call is organized by the Ma'u Henua indigenous community -administrator of the Rapa Nui National Park-, at the request of the Honui -representative group of the families of the island-.

The only question on the ballot will be: Do you want to open the island in January? ", With two possible answers:" Yes "and" No ". The vote will be secret and will be deposited in a ballot box.

Among the " considerations to bear in mind when deciding " - it reads in the invitation - are that, in the case of opening, "little by little we will have the necessary income to maintain our community." On the other hand, if it is kept closed, it is stated that we should consider having a way of life based on our ancestral customs. That is, to live off the land and its natural resources .



Sofa Fandez, a member of Honui, says that the people in Rapa Nui are extremely polarized . They know that not opening means that you will not have resources (...). So there is duality. If I open it, I'm sure I'm going to catch it. The risk is because people are not getting vaccinated. The doubt is terrible: if I open we are going to get sick, but if I do not open, I run the risk of not continuing to emerge .

Accelerate vaccination

The vaccination campaign, of course, has been advancing faster - warn the authorities - since September 30, when the Seremi de Salud published the new protocol that regulates the transfer of residents from Easter Island to the mainland.

The resolution, which does not consider tourists, establishes in order to travel the Mobility Pass requirements , an affidavit, a negative PCR and fulfill a 5-day quarantine, among other considerations.



To reach the 80% goal by January and take advantage of summer tourism, 544 laggards would have to get the first dose before November 15 , to receive the second dose 28 days later.

To do this, from Monday to Friday, 26 people would have to be vaccinated per day , almost double what was registered in the last two weeks (between October 1 and 13), when, on average, 14 people received the first dose.

In this regard, Mayor Edmunds points out that the goal "is subject to the reaction of the community to vaccination and the amount of infections that the continent presents", and invites to be vaccinated "because (the programs) ProEmpleo, the IFE and social benefits. We have to get back to work. The economy depends on tourism .

Other "stumbling blocks"

Apart from the autonomous consultation and the low percentage of vaccinated, the presidential delegate adds that there are two other "stumbling blocks" hindering the return of tourism.

One is the takeover of the airport access sector by the Roe family, who claim the property where the terminal is located. The issue is in the hands of Bienes Nacionales, which is evaluating possible solutions to the conflict.

A third stumbling block is the hospital equipment . De la Puente points out that " there is no capacity today to withstand an outbreak of the virus on the island ."

The requirement for critical beds for the hospital, he adds, has been raised since the beginning of the pandemic, but that dialogue has been slow, which is not the happiest, but we have been in talks. There is a plan to equip it , he says.

The mayor, in turn, maintains that from the first day a field hospital was implemented (today disarmed). But it requires oxygen concentrators (...). We are discussing this with the minister (Enrique Paris), who has already given the purchase order .

Edmunds also details that the Ministry of Health already brought to the island last week " an ambulance, according to the times, that can treat a person with Covid."

For now, what remains is to await the results of Sunday.
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Old Oct 19, 2021, 3:30 pm
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In other words, we should await the results of the ballot this Sunday. Best case scenario the island is going to be open in January, but I'm not sure if LATAM is willing to offer commercial flights with such short notice. In times of pre-COVID, Revenue Management was usually comfortable with 6 months of anticipation for long haul flights

Also it will be interesting to see what changes the Ministry of Health is going to make to the protocol to enter Isla de Pascua when the vaccionation rate improves in the island. The current 5 days of quarantine after arriving from the mainland will not fare good for tourism.

By the way the vaccination rate is now 64.2%, just 0.6% week over week. As the note said, it's going to be challenging to meet the goal of 80%
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:00 am
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67% voted NO.
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by Viajero Perpetuo
67% voted NO.
Thanks for the update Viajero Perpetuo.
It still might not happen because according to the following article, the turnout for the vote was abysmal! The translation is, once again by Google so apologies in advance!

"Rapa Nui people decide not to reopen Easter Island to tourism

Only eight cases of Covid-19 have been registered on the island in this time and there have been no new patients since September 2020.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)
24 Oct 2021 - 09:53 PM The Rapa Nui people, originally from the Polynesian Easter Island, 3,700 km west of the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, decided this Sunday 67% not to reopen the island to tourism after almost two years of isolation due to the pandemic.

The entire indigenous community - 60% of the approximately 10,000 people who live in this insular territory of Chile - was called upon to decide in this non-binding consultation on the future of tourism, and therefore economic, of this remote island.


For decades, locals have based their development on attracting tourists from all over the world to its unique beauty and its iconic moais - stone statues carved in human form.

Only 972 people exercised their voting option - less than 20% of the Rapa Nui population called to the polls - before the Ma'u Henua community, administrator of the Rapa Nui national park, who asked "Do you want to open the island (to tourism) in January? .


The no option received 649 votes and the yes option 320, in addition to three null votes, according to the community on social networks. The local authority, dependent on the continental coastal region of Valparaso, has not commented on the results.

However, the final decision rests with the regional health authority or the Ministry of Health, which have not issued any statement on whether they will take into account the result of the vote.

The main concern of the inhabitants is to know if the island is ready to re-enable the only commercial flight of the Latam company from Santiago to Easter Island, suspended since March 16, 2020 when Chile decreed a state of emergency with the arrival of the coronavirus, which involved border closure, quarantines and a night curfew.

Since then, Chile has added more than 1.6 million cases and 36,000 deaths from Covid-19 and no one has been able to travel to or from the island, except for government supply flights, which include doses of vaccines.

Only eight cases of Covid-19 have been registered on the island in this time and there have been no new patients since September 2020. There were also no hospitalizations or deaths throughout the pandemic, according to local authorities.

Salvador Atan, vice president of the Ma'u Henua community, explained to AFP that the main income of the island is "the tourist industry" and that in this consultation - which is normally done twice a year in the Rapa Nui community - also The island's ability to face serious cases of coronavirus is valued.

73.1% of the population of Easter Island is vaccinated against the coronavirus, but the Hanga Roa medical center does not have intensive therapy units, although it does have respirators. An emergency flight to the mainland takes approximately five and a half hours.

In addition, only one medical ambulance sent a month ago from the continent is equipped to treat a patient at risk of life due to covid-19.

The day in Hanga Roa, the island's capital, has been marked by the influx of the population to the polls, which waited for voters under tents and in the open air.

Hugo Atan, a municipal official, explained to AFP that he is still not convinced that the island will open to international tourism until the pandemic is controlled worldwide and he opted for the "no" option on his ballot.

"I think (Easter Island) can live (unopened), we just have to reinvent ourselves and remember what our parents and grandparents did in the past, they survived (without tourism)," he said.

Uri Erisa Tuki Teave, a woman living on the island, considered that the survival of the island and its population involves returning to an economy based on the tourist industry as it happened before the pandemic.

"It is very simple, we have been locked up for almost two years, resources have been minimized in such a way that we are barely enough to survive," he told AFP , adding that following health instructions and getting vaccinated there is no reason to be afraid of return of tourists.

Salvador Atan is part of the community that proposed the consultation, but from his point of view, openness is essential for becoming an island, so his proposal is to move forward from now until January 1 to accommodate the possible arrival of tourists .


From today until the end of the year we must do a step by step to re-accustom the community to the use of the mask, to the positive vaccination of the Rapa Nui people and all of us who live here, because with this we are going to minimize the effects of the covid ", it states.

This community leader, like the local authorities, is in favor of reopening the island for tourists."
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:16 am
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Interesting experiment

Originally Posted by Viajero Perpetuo
67% voted NO.
This might become a very interesting example of how tourism is perceived by local populations in general. The problem will be how to compensate investors (explora springs to mind) if the destination will be off the map definitely.
Also the whole adventure could cost Chilean taxpayers a lot of money as the population has to be subsidised. There is no such thing like auto sufficiency on such a small island with insufficient resources, unless they want to live like in prehistory.
And to add: being a strong USP, this will be a huge damage for Chile tourism as a whole, but happily they rely on mining and less tourists is not necessarily a bad thing.
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Last edited by behuman; Oct 25, 2021 at 10:55 am
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Old Oct 25, 2021, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by behuman
This might become a very interesting example of how tourism is perceived by local populations in general. The problem will be how to compensate investors (explora springs to mind) if the destination will be off the map definitely.
Also the whole adventure could cost Chilean taxpayers a lot of money as the population has to be subsidised. There is no such thing like auto sufficiency on such a small island with insufficient resources, unless they want to live like in prehistory.
I agree with you wholeheartedly behuman. Let's hope they can find some kind of middle ground! There must be other examples around the world, but the one that immediately springs to mind is the island archipelago of Fernando de Noronha off the northern coast of Brazil, where they they restrict the numbers of tourists. It would be interesting to hear from other, more knowledgeable FTers about other such examples around the world.
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Old Oct 27, 2021, 6:14 pm
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I am so glad I visited Easter Island just before Covid. My motivation for going was LA leaving OW - and wanted to do it before then. Its worth visiting.
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Old Oct 30, 2021, 12:49 am
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I am due to go back to Easter Island in early March from an original date of June 2020. Looks like I might be unlucky yet again which is a real PITA. I've been there before and the Explora is a great place to stay - maybe I have to checkout the the transfer to the new Patagonian Explorer as an alternative
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Old Oct 30, 2021, 5:45 pm
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The islanders are kind of nuts. Go back to the way of their fore fathers? The economy of the Island completely dependent on tourism. On the main drag of the island, there is this lovely lady selling he best tuna epanandas . I wonder what she is doing now? Selling them to locals?

Unless Rapa nui has some hidden goldmine somewhere - they will come to their senses soon enough, They are fiercely independent though...
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Old Oct 31, 2021, 6:09 am
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Originally Posted by OpenSky
I wonder what she is doing now? Selling them to locals?
Unless Rapa nui has some hidden goldmine somewhere
She will get subsidies from the Chilean government. The island was used for long time as USP for Chile and attracted many tourists also to other parts of the country. So for sure, some compensation is due.
An interesting case study for halting overtourism in a brisk way.
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Old Oct 31, 2021, 4:49 pm
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As I've noted elsewhere, tourism accounts for less than 5% of Chile's economy. They can probably afford to keep the island closed and subsidized for a very long time.
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Old Nov 5, 2021, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by chilglish
I agree with you wholeheartedly behuman. Let's hope they can find some kind of middle ground! There must be other examples around the world, but the one that immediately springs to mind is the island archipelago of Fernando de Noronha off the northern coast of Brazil, where they they restrict the numbers of tourists. It would be interesting to hear from other, more knowledgeable FTers about other such examples around the world.
I happen to know one of the owners of explora though my Chilean friend who went to the same university as one of the owners ( the Catholic University in Santiago) . If I'm not mistaken, he's a lawyer - he seems like a smart guy, I am sure they will figure something out.
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Old Nov 5, 2021, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by OpenSky
I happen to know one of the owners of explora though my Chilean friend who went to the same university as one of the owners ( the Catholic University in Santiago) . If I'm not mistaken, he's a lawyer - he seems like a smart guy, I am sure they will figure something out.
Let's hope so, because I'm itching to explore the island and have rebooked tickets for February 22!
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Old Nov 12, 2021, 4:38 pm
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LATAM is crazy!

The sent me two identical emails this week titled "Your flight will be in 10 days, let's get ready!". And in the email itself it says:


The countdown has started!

10 days for your flight:

Santiago de Chile - Rapa Nui

Get ready by checking out the travel documents


... Except, of course, the flights are all still cancelled! So what the bleep does LATAM think doing sending out emails like this for cancelled flights????????


... And, btw, when I go to LATAM and try look up my late Nov SPC<->IPC flight the way I was able to do before (ticket identifier code and surname) it says I can't look it up online, I have to call Customer Support. Huh? Before they sent me an email saying I could change my flight to a new one online until the end of December!

What a broken airline!
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Last edited by sdsearch; Nov 12, 2021 at 4:46 pm
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Old Nov 13, 2021, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by sdsearch
What a broken airline!
Did the same to me in October 2021 .

Not only broken, but scam airline . Transferring money from my travel voucher they clainm that my bank "rejects the transfer".... Such a nonsense.

Hopefully GOL will simply take them over. Sad for Chile.
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