Maldives: String of 1,196 islands set to welcome visitors

The government of the island nation in the Indian Ocean is confident that the country's borders will be opened up in July.

The Maldives, a string of 1,196 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, and heavily reliant on tourism, is getting ready to welcome visitors once again by easing border restrictions in a phased manner and establishing the necessary protocols to suit the new normal.

Work on protection, mitigation, and management of Covid-19 began as early as January this year when it was first reported. A National Coronavirus Taskforce was constituted by the President soon and an all-government effort was launched with multi-agency participation. The Health Protection Agency has been leading the effort with the support of the National Disaster Management Authority, in close consultation with the World Health Organization.

The country suspended all arrival visas in January and a lockdown was imposed in the Greater Male’ Area with the first instance of community transmission on 15th April. However, with the number of cases reaching a manageable rate, and with strengthened precautionary measures, the government eased restrictions internally on 28th May, almost six weeks after the lockdown was imposed.

The government has been working to commence tourist operations, with stringent safety guidelines to safeguard the health and well-being of visitors to the country and those who work in the industry. With the steps that have been taken, the government is confident that the country's borders will be opened up in July.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, a first draft of the safety guidelines relating to the commencement of tourism was circulated among stakeholders, for which comments are being received. Guidelines will be finalized and shared with the industry after consultation with all stakeholders.

The Ministry has announced that the final version of the new guidelines does not include any new taxes or charges that will be imposed on visitors arriving to the country when borders open up. The Ministry also emphasized that the country’s top priority would be to ensure the safety of visitors.

Maldives is famous for its unique one-island-one-resort concept. The isolated nature of the islands give visitors an ideal opportunity to enjoy the country's beautiful surroundings in luxurious safety and comfort.

First Published:June 30, 2020, 11:56 a.m.

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