Over 70 resorts will be in operation when borders reopen, says minister

The Maldives government has revealed that more than half the resorts in the archipelago will be in operation when the country opens its borders on July 15.

The tourism-dependent island nation closed its doors to tourists on March 27 as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. The country is preparing to re-open its borders and resume tourism after a nearly three-month hiatus.

Speaking at a press conference held at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Ali Waheed said 41 resorts had assured it would be in operation by the end of July even before the government announced the border reopening date. After the date was announced, 30 additional resorts informed that it would resume operation in July.

"Over 150 resorts were in operation in the Maldives [pre-COVID-19]. More than half the resorts will soon resume operation. Several other resorts are expected to reopen in August and a few more in September and October. But now that the border reopening date has been announced, it is likely that the later dates may get pushed up," said the minister.

Three flights carrying tourists are scheduled to arrive in the Maldives on July 15. The minister added that 11 airlines have confirmed that it would resume flights to the Maldives. The Tourism Ministry is currently gathering information on tourism establishments that will resume operation on the date. The ministry has also requested all resorts to inform their re-opening date.

While the Maldives is preparing to welcome tourists in July, 850,000 tourists are expected to visit the tourism nation this year, the country's president has said. However, the state revenue generated through tourism is expected to decline by 50 percent.