The beautiful, tranquil South Asian paradise of the Republic of Maldives is adamant about reopening tourism as soon as possible, with tentative plans to resume at the beginning of July.
The Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation issued a statement to stakeholders back on May 5 describing how the Ministry of Tourism indicated that inbound travel into the country may begin in July. However, the corporation continues that such a plan is determinant on the state of the coronavirus pandemic and “source market countries.”
“While it is very likely that the way we travel will change, how travel to Maldives will
shape-up will depend on new policies and procedures that will be determined by the
Ministry of Tourism and other related regulatory government agencies,” the statement explains.
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“We would like to inform you that, as of now, no such guidelines or procedures have been issued or gazetted. While it is not our mandate to establish such procedures, we will ensure
that all stakeholders are kept informed of any developments in this area.”
However, in a statement delivered by the Minister of Tourism, Ali Waheed, at the Commonwealth’s Virtual Seminar on the Impact of Tourism, Debt and Disaster Management on May 27, he stayed firm on the July reopening, stating that the island is heavily reliant on the tourism industry, accounting for one-third of the total government revenue.
“For the first time in 47 years of tourism in the Maldives, we have experienced zero tourist arrival since this March,” he explained, “which is more devastating than the 2004 Tsunami and 2008 Global Financial Crisis.”
Waheed continues that, since the Maldives is such a small country, it is especially vulnerable to global crises such as the losses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining that it is estimated that the economic growth of the island may decrease to a “negative 26% in the worst-case scenario.”
In order to contribute to the flattening of the curve, the government and tourism industry have utilized 26 tourist establishments as well as close to 300 hotel rooms, for quarantine and isolation facilities, the statement explains.
Ali states that the Maldives’ border cannot remain closed for much longer and that authorities are collaborating with relevant industry representatives in creating a “Guideline for Restarting Maldives Tourism” from July.
“We urge Commonwealth countries to open up borders without compromising safety,” he describes. “It’s time to build travellers’ confidence towards intra-commonwealth travel and tourism.”
The Maldives currently has travel restrictions in effect for 12 countries, including Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Note: As border closures and travel restrictions begin to lift, health authorities are reminding individuals to monitor themselves for any signs of COVID-19. If you are feeling unwell, it is recommended you stay at home. If you do decide to travel, follow the health and safety precautions and protocols outlined by the departure and arrival locations you will be travelling to/from.