Safety initiatives to be implemented
After closing its borders in March, the Maldives is set to reopen for tourism. According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Tourism, a phased reopening is planned, with incoming flights to its main international airport set for July, well ahead of a planned year-end opening.
Minister for Tourism Ali Waheed described the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as "more devastating than the 2004 tsunami and the 2008 global financial crisis." "For the first time in 47 years of tourism in the Maldives, we have experienced zero tourist arrival since this March," before adding, "we cannot keep our borders closed for long," he said.
Guests would not be charged any additional fees, referencing an earlier proposal suggesting extra tourist visa charges and landing fees would be initiated. To ensure safety, the government is issuing a "Safe Tourism License" to accredit tourist facilities that abide by government legislation. Travelers will be required to present a medical certificate confirming proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken at least 14 days before arriving. A confirmed booking with a licensed tourist facility is also required.
Tourism is an integral part of the Maldives economy. More than 1.7 million visitors arrived in 2019 and officials had expected numbers to reach two million this year. Although the country has remained closed to international tourists, around 30 resorts have remained open, allowing guests to self-isolate rather than return home.