In recent years, Easter Island’s iconic statues have been removed to make way for a tourism development project.
The statues have since been moved to an alternative location.
The Easter Island Islands tourist board said the decision to move the statues was made to facilitate the tourist attraction.
Photo: Supplied But Ms Ngozi Oluwole-Mbiwa, the director of the Easter Island Tourism Board, said the statues would be “put back into place”.
“It’s all part of the tourism development plan,” she said.
“There will be no change to the statues at the site.”
Ms Oluwdole-Wome said the statue removal had “huge” implications for the island’s tourist industry.
“The tourists, the islanders, will be the ones getting hurt because they’re not able to visit,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“We’re the ones who have to make sure that there’s not any disruption to tourism, to our economy.”
The statue removal was not the only issue raised by the tourism board.
Ms Ndongo said there was a concern about the future of a small island community known as Omina, which is situated just off the island.
She said the town had been experiencing a severe lack of visitors.
“I think there’s a huge amount of concern,” she added.
“People are coming in with the intention of visiting, but they don’t realise what’s going to happen to Ominas people.”
The tourism board said it had contacted the Government and was in discussions with the local authority.
Ms Ominan said she hoped the new plan would make the tourism industry “more sustainable”.
“We need to have a good relationship with the Government, and that’s why we’re asking for a new plan,” Ms Omoi said.
She also hoped to have an Indigenous-led plan approved by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.
The tourism development is part of a $30 million infrastructure investment that will help to transform Ominatawe.
The islands biggest attraction is a three-storey, 2,500-seat stadium built in the late 1950s.
It was recently refurbished to offer a full-service dining experience and an entertainment precinct.