Losses caused to tourism industry can be recovered soon: Minister

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated that the losses caused to the tourism industry due to the country's recent COVID-19 situation can be recovered by the end of the year.

Speaking on a program aired by local TV channel Sangu TV, Minister Mausoom said it was previously hoped that this year's low-season would see an influx of tourists. The government had hoped that the tourism-dependent archipelago would see above 3,000 daily arrivals, said the minister. However, this is currently not the case due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the Maldives, noted the minister.

'We had hoped to see daily arrivals above 3000. However, the current figures are 50 percent less than what we hoped for. During the last peak season, a large number of tourists who wished to travel to the Maldives from Europe could not do so due to the continent's situation, but we assumed that more tourists would come when Europe eased restrictions," he said.

The minister said while Brish Airways had increased flights for the summer period to have a flight operating to the Maldives every two days from June 21, the COVID-19 situation in the Maldives prompted British authorities to red-list Maldives as a travel destination. The development set back the tourism goals for the year, he added.

'The Maldives also suspended issuing visas to South Asian countries due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in these countries. Approximately 25 percent of tourists that travel to the Maldives are from South Asian countries. These are the two factors that contributed to a stagnant period," said Mausoom.

However, the government is hopeful that the loss can be recovered before the end of the year, said the minister.

'We can boost our numbers, we can increase the number of bed nights. Thankfully, our rates are good," said Mausoom.

According to statistics publicized by the Tourism Ministry, 460,924 tourists have visited the Maldives thus far this year. While 555,494 tourists visited the Maldives last year and 1.7 million tourists in the year before that, the government has set a goal to welcome 1.5 million tourists this year.