Maldives hopes to facilitate charter flights for long-haul travelers

Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) has stated that efforts are underway to arrange special charter flights to the Maldives.

The tourism dependent island nation opened its border to tourists on Tuesday after closing it in March as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. 104 tourists arrived in the Maldives via the first flight that landed at the airport following the reopening of the border.

Speaking at a press conference held at Velana International Airport (VIA), Managing Director of MMPRC, Thoyyib Mohamed said charter flights are a wise idea to transport tourists from distant countries, and efforts are underway to facilitate such arrangements. In that regard, discussions are ongoing with the Civil Aviation Authority, said Thoyyib.

“Instead of scheduled flights and long-haul flights, travelers are more interested in flights traveling from areas close to them. However, utilizing charter flights for tourists arriving from faraway countries is a good strategy, and discussions on the subject are ongoing. We cannot implement such an arrangement without prior planning,” said Thoyyib.

The MD added that MMPRC hopes to kick off charter flight arrangements by September, and said ongoing discussions involve plans on bringing tourists from regional areas and distant countries.

Change to tourism tagline

The indian ocean archipelago changed its famous tagline ‘Visit Maldives - The Sunny Side of Life’ to ‘ Rediscover Maldives - The Sunny Side of Life’ with the border reopening, an announcement made by Thoyyib on Tuesday.

“We did not begin our work only now. We have been working hard since the border was closed, we have redoubled our efforts. We are participating and attending all fairs and markets digitally,” said Thoyyib.,

Thoyyib said MMPRC is giving a high priority to market Maldives as a desirable travel destination despite the existence of COVID-19. Thoyyib said the government is banking on the fact that the tourist resorts in the Maldives are isolated and secluded, and provides ample opportunity for social distancing.

A study conducted by the Maldives National University (MNU) has estimated that 10,595 tourists will visit the Maldives this month. A total of 450,134 are expected to visit the country during the remainder of the year.