TRAVEL ESSENTIALS | Maldives Lifts All Restrictions For Visitors

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 propositional indicate travelers would need to present a medical certificate confirming proof 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 travelers will have to wait a few more weeks.

Last month, the Maldives, which closed its borders in March, announced a phased reopening that indicate incoming flights to its main international airport would recommence in July.

‘We are planning to reopen our borders for visitors in July, 2021’, read an official statement issued by the Ministry of Tourism on May 30.

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.

Ready To Reopen

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 License’ 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 travelers would need to have a confirmed booking with a tourist facility with a license, but it seems this is no longer the case.

In  a statement last month, Ali Waheed, the country’s minister for tourism, 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 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.

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