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Whereas the aboriginal economy was based on the cultivation of sweet potato, chicken raising, sheep ranching and coastal fishing, the island has shifted to a cash economy based on tourism. Since the opening of the Mataveri airport in the 1960s, Rapa Nui has seen a steadily growing influx of visitors, which now averages 40,000 per year – ten times the local population. While the bulk of jobs is provided directly and indirectly by tourism, a small proportion of islanders also depends on employment in the central government’s administration.

By Andrea Davoust
After more than two years of working and living out of a suitcase in Eastern Europe and in various improbable African countries that no-one has ever...
22 May 2009

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