'Have tourists' confidence; need to facilitate travel arrangements'

Maldives Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated that tourists interested in visiting the Maldives have full confidence in the country.

Speaking at a webinar organized by Qatar Travel Market (QTM), Minister Mausoom said while tourists have full confidence in visiting Maldives, the only obstruction to their travels is the lack of available flights and the closure of borders. The arrangements where tourists have to quarantine themselves upon return to their respective destinations is a demotivating factor, said the minister.

The Maldives closed its borders to tourists on March 27 as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. Over 20,700 tourists have traveled to the destination since the tourism dependent nation reopened its borders on July 15, said the minister. The government is happy with the number of arrivals, he added.

“Direct flights are now arriving from Europe. If the current pace keeps up, we will be in a good place in 2021,” said the minister.

The minister said the most satisfactory achievement until now has been the fact that no tourists have had to be hospitalised due to COVID-19. Even if a tourist has to be quarantined, the quarantine facility will be arranged at a local resort, said the minister. The requirement of negative PCR test to gain entry into the Maldives is an added support in building tourists’ trust, he added. Further announcing that travel insurance packages will be available to tourists in the near future, the program will also be an additional reassurance for tourists, said Dr. Mausoom.

Dr. Mausoom furter revealed that discussions re unerway with Italian and Singaporean authorities to facilitate more services to visiting tourists.

Several large airlines have resumed operation to the Maldives since it reopened its borders. Whil British Airways is expected to commence operation on October 15, Emirates have announced that more flights will be added to the route.

The government previously estimated that 800,000 tourists will visit the Maldives for the remainder of the year after the borders are reopened. However, the figure has now been revised to 100,000.