- No new visa requirements or additional fees
The Maldives is reopening to all visitors next month with no restrictions. A spokesperson for the tourism board has confirmed the Indian Ocean destination will welcome back tourists of all nationalities in July.
While a previous draft proposal indicated travellers would need to present a medical certificate confirming proof of a negative COVID-19 test, the island nation is instead opting to allow tourists in without prior testing or a mandatory quarantine period.
There are also no new visa requirements or additional fees. At present, anyone with a super yacht or private jet can head there, but normal travellers will have to wait a few more weeks.
Last month, the Maldives, which closed its borders in March, announced a phased reopening that indicated incoming flights to its main international airport would recommence in July.
“We are planning to reopen our borders for visitors in July,” read an official statement issued by the Ministry of Tourism on 30 May.
The statement went on to stress that guests would not be charged any additional fees, referencing reports of extra tourist visa charges and landing fees.
The Maldives has recorded nearly 2,000 confirmed cases and five deaths from COVID-19 so far.
While the country has been shut to international tourists since recording its first cases, around 30 resorts have stayed open, with guests choosing to self-isolate here rather than return home.
Officials previously suggested the popular honeymoon destination would reopen towards the end of the year, but this has been brought forward.
To ensure safety, the government says it is issuing a ‘Safe Tourism Licence’ to accredit tourist facilities that abide by government legislation and specific safety requirements like having a certified medic on call and holding an “adequate stock” of personal protection equipment.
The original proposal suggested incoming travellers would need to have a confirmed booking with a tourist facility with a licence, but it seems this is no longer the case.
In a statement issued last month, the country’s 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 arrivals since this March,” before adding, “We cannot keep our borders closed for long.”
The Maldives welcomed more than 1.7 million visitors in 2019 and officials had been expecting numbers to rise to two million this year. (Source: edition.cnn.com)