Resumption of guesthouses services must set an example, says minister

Tourism Minister, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated that the reopening of local guesthouses in Maldives must serve as an example for the world.

The Tourism Ministry has announced that local guesthouses will be allowed to resume operation on October 15 after being shut down for many months due to COVID-19.

Speaking at a press conference held Wednesday regarding the government’s decision, Minister Mausoom said the decision comes with several significant challenges. However, the government wishes to overcome the challenges and set an example for the rest of the world in resuming guesthouse services, said the minister.

“I acknowledge and thank the work done by HPA [Health Protection Agency], the [tourism] industry and President Solih to reach this point. We need the collective effort and assistance from everyone in implementing this. Our goal is to show that economic activities can be safely resumed even in the midst of a global pandemic. We wish to set an example,” said Dr. Mausoom.

During the briefing, the minister said all guest houses across Maldives except those in the Greater Male’ Region will be allowed to resume operation.

“However, HPA has said that if the number of positive cases fall below five percent in the Greater Male’ Region, guesthouses will be allowed to reopen. If the numbers continue to increase, measures may need to be tightened further,” he said.

The minister confirmed that all tourists who depart after holidaying at local guest houses will need to undergo COVID-19 testing prior to departure.

“According to the Health Ministry, the opportunity has now been facilitated for those who wish to to undergo private COVID-19 testing. This is an opportunity to carry out testing under a business model. This will allow us to follow what other countries are doing,” said the minister.

Dr. Mausoom added that Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) will carry out activities to promote the guest house sector. The size of the sector is not significant, and every sector and tourist is important, said the minister.