Tourist arrivals expected to fall to 900,000 this year

The government has estimated that 908,000 tourists will visit the Maldives this year.

The Maldives closed its borders to tourists in March as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. The government is working hard to resume tourism next month.

Speaking at the parliament's budget committee, Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer said while a record amount of 1.7 million tourists visited the Maldives last year, the amount is expected to fall to 908,000 this year, granted that tourism re-opens next month and 180,000 tourists visit the Maldives every month for the rest of the year.

According to the 'scenario 3' described in the government estimates for tourists arrivals after the country opens its borders, tourism arrivals will decrease by 50 percent and the number of bed nights will decline by 39 percent.

The minister said the recovery of markets on which travel restrictions were imposed will be down by 97 percent, and other markets are expected to fall by 5 percent. Therefore, no tourists are expected to visit the Maldives until the end of September, but arrivals are expected to pick up after the recovery period.

While tourism directly contributes to 25 percent of the GDP, it indirectly contributes to over 70 percent of the GDP.