The President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, has ratified the 10th amendment to the Maldives Tourism Act. With this, the President is now empowered to allocate islands for the development of tourist resorts; integrated tourism development; tourism-related real-estate projects; tourist hotels and guest houses; yacht marinas; and other tourism-related projects.
With most countries closing their borders or introducing stringent quarantine norms, Maldives has emerged the winner in 2020, as it turned out to be the most preferred holiday destination for travelers, who had remained cooped up inside their homes for too long. Of course, the sun-kissed pictures of Indian celebrities basking in the Maldivian sun gave ample travel goals for all of us!
On December 20, Maldives recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals on a single-day with over 5,555 entries. A week later, on December 27, 2020, a new record was made with 6,037 daily tourist arrivals. Announcing this development, the Minister of Tourism for the Maldives, Abdulla Mausoom, stated in a tweet, “New record of tourist arrivals on a single day since the Maldives reopened borders. It’s #SixThousand (6,000) plus tourists today. Thanks and congratulations to industry partners, related authorities, lovely tourists, and the charming people of #Maldives. Love you ALL very much.”
As the Maldives continues to overcome the economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis, the country has been witnessing a healthy number of footfalls, as it recently welcomed the 100,000th tourist since borders reopened in July 2020, as well as the 500,000th tourist for the year 2020. No doubt, with the opening and closing of borders, the destination has been witnessing a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to the pre-Covid period, but things have been picking up with the onset of the festive season and increased connectivity with more flight options.
Ukraine’s Azur Air also commenced charter operations to the Maldives with its first flight arriving at Velana International Airport on December 26, 2020. The flights will be operated every Saturday, until March 2021. With several initiatives to market the destination in Russia and the CIS region, tourist arrivals have witnessed an increase. This charter operation that expands air connectivity between the two countries will be a major boost to the Maldives’ efforts to revive the country’s tourism-dependent economy.
The Maldives opened borders to all nationalities from July 15. All visitors are granted a 30-day free on-arrival visa with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility in the country. The reopening of borders came with stringent safety measures in place to ensure the safety of both tourists and staff. Tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to departure and also present a negative Covid-19 test, conducted 96 hours prior to their departure.
The Maldives has also introduced the Covid-19 travel insurance in the country, which covers medical charges, isolation facility charges, emergency medical transportation charges, and interment charges following a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 during their stay in the country.
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