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Easter islanders vote against tourism
Published on:Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 14:13
In a referendum the residents of Easter Island have almost unanimously voted to limit the stream of tourists coming to the island.
The vote paves the way for the Chilean government to introduce a limit on the number of people who travel to the island in the constitution.
Ninety-six percent of the 1300 eligible voters on the island wants strict regulation of tourists and migrants.
The islanders fear incomers cause pollution which would threaten the island's fragile ecosystem if the population grew unchecked.
Every year 50,000 tourists visit Easter Island to see the huge statues, which are on UNESCO's world heritage list.
In August protesters occupied the island's only airport for many hours, stranding hundreds of tourists.
In response the Chilean government introduced travel restrictions, but the Supreme Court ruled the restrictions were unconstitutional.