Chile begins to restrict tourism to protect Easter Island

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile's government is beginning to restrict tourism to Easter Island, which is known for its stunning gigantic stone heads known as Moais.

The statues have attracted an ever-increasing flow of tourists to the fragile island in the middle of the South Pacific, stressing its limited resources.

Chilean officials on Wednesday began restricting the number of visits from tourists and non-locals from 90 days to 30 days.

Tourism Minister Monica Zalaquett says the measure is being taken now to protect the island.

President Sebastian Pinera also fast-tracked a bill that seeks to change Easter Island's name to Rapa Nui — as residents call the island.

Chile annexed the island in 1888. It is about 2,200 miles (3,500) kilometers west of Chile.

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