'Govt will help cushion blow caused to tourism by Covid-19'

Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has stated that the government would assist the tourism industry in tackling the damage caused to sector due to the coronavirus pandemic currently spreading across the globe.

Speaking at the Annual General Assembly of Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held Sunday, Minister Waheed said the industry will undeniably face the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and asserted that the government would fully support the industry in climbing back on its feet.

"On behalf of the government, I assure you that the government will assist the tourism industry in cushioning the damages caused to the industry by the Covid-19. virus," said Ali Waheed.

The minister added that while the 25% of the GDP of the country is directly possessed by the tourism industry, over 75% is indirectly dependent on the sector.

Addressing at the AGM, Chairman of MATI Ahmed Umar Manik said the tourism sector of Maldives will flourish with the establishment of the passenger terminal and seaplane terminal currently in development at the country's main airport.

During the last year, over 1.7 million tourists visited the Maldives. However, a decline in tourist arrivals is expected this year due to the lesser number of Chinese tourists visiting the country due to the coronavirus. It is estimated that a 25% decrease in tourist arrivals will be experienced this year. This is equivalent to approximately MVR 500 million in terms of financial loss